Monday, November 4, 2013

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (not)

We were talking about novels over dinner tonight, and for some reason I remembered that someone had written a 50,000-word book entirely omitting the letter E. The girls couldn't believe it, so we googled for evidence. And there it was: Gadsby - a novel by Ernest Vincent Wright, about a fictional city called Branton Hills. Imagine not being able to use the word the or the suffix -edSomewhat surprisingly, he couldn't find a publisher so self-published it in 1939, and then promptly died. You can read it here. I got through 20 pages and gave up. 
Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that a Frenchman, George Perec, matched Gadsby with his own novel, La Disparition, in 1968. So far so similar. But what takes this onto a whole other geeky level is that it has been translated into English (three separate times), German, Spanish, Turkish, Swedish, Russian, Dutch and Romanian... with each version similarly spurning the E.
And I thought I was anal.

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