Hundred Thousand Billion Poems  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikiquote
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Raymond Queneau’s Hundred Thousand Billion Poems or One hundred million million poems (original French title: Cent mille milliards de poèmes), published in 1961, is a set of ten sonnets. They are printed on card with each line on a separated strip, like a heads-bodies-and-legs book. Each reader will encounter not just poems arranged in a different order, but different poems depending on the precise way in which they turn the sections of page. As all ten sonnets have not just the same rhyme scheme but the same rhyme sounds, any lines from a sonnet can be combined with any from the nine others, so that there are 1014 (= 100,000,000,000,000) different poems. It would take some 200,000,000 years to read them all, even reading twenty-four hours a day. When Queneau ran into trouble while writing the poem(s), he solicited the help of mathematician Francois Le Lionnais, and in the process they initiated Oulipo.

Two full translations into English have been published, those by John Crombie and Stanley Chapman. There is also a full translation on the internet by Beverley Charles Rowe that uses the same rhyme sounds.

In 1984 Edition Zweitausendeins in Frankfurt a.M. published a German translation by Ludwig Harig.

In 1997, a French court decision outlawed the publication of the original poem on the Internet, citing the Queneau estate and Gallimard publishing house's exclusive moral right.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hundred Thousand Billion Poems" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools