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Roubaud's number on numbers

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Abstract:

This article considers the significance of mathematical patterns in the poetry and prose of Jacques Roubaud, a leading Oulipian whose image as a poet-mathematician is now so well-known that almost every study of his work mentions both dimensions of the man. In particular, the article seeks to rescue discussion of mathematics in his texts from a merely descriptive or mechanical account of its origin in constraints. Number plays a major role in Roubaud's practice of versification as well as in texts such as the programmatic 'Project' the author sketched out for himself, offering a holistic way to represent the world. In this perspective, numbers function as personal signifiers, and their spiritual significance for him is as least as important as the role they play as oulipian tools.

Keywords: LITERATURE; MATHEMATICS; NUMBER; OULIPO; POETRY; ROUBAUD

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/jrs.2007.070309

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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