Portrait of the artist as a mathematician

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Abstract:

This article presents a typology of the aesthetic functions of mathematics as structural device and literary motif and discusses various ways the mathematical can be integrated into the literary, showing that a genuine mathematization of literature is illusory and that mathematics, when transposed into a literary text, is necessarily always poetical. It compares works by French Oulipo writers and works by non-oulipian English or American authors in order to determine how literature articulates numbers and letters and whether mathematics functions differently when integrated into a literary text as constraints or as patterns.

Keywords: CONSTRAINT; LITERATURE; MATHEMATICS; OULIPO; PATTERN; TRANSLATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/jrs.2007.07.03.08

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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