Raymond Queneau (February 21, 1903 – October 25, 1976) was a French poet and novelist.
Born in Le Havre, Normandy, Queneau spent much of his life working for French publisher Gallimard. He briefly joined the Surrealists, but found that their approach of letting the unconscious mind create did not suit him.
Rather, elements of a work, including seemingly trivial details such as the number of chapters, were things that had to be predetermined, perhaps even calculated. This idea was later one of the cornerstones of the Oulipo movement, of which he was a founder. He was also a member of the College of Pataphysics.
He came to general attention in France with the publication in 1959 of his novel Zazie dans le mÃ©tro, and with the film adaptation by Louis Malle in 1960 at the height of the nouvelle vague movement in French film. Zazie explores colloquial language as opposed to ‘standard’ written French; a distinction which is perhaps more marked in French than in some other languages. The first word of the book, the alarmingly long “Doukipudonktan” is a phonetic transcription of “D’oÃ¹ qu’il(s) pue(nt) donc tant ?” “Why do(es) he/they stink so much ?”.
After the founding of the Oulipo in 1960, Queneau turned further to mathematics as a source of inspiration.
Le Chiendent or The bark-tree (1933)
Les Derniers jours or The last days (1936)
Les Enfants du Limon (1938)
Un Rude hiver (1939)
Pierrot mon ami or Pierrot (1942)
Loin de Rueil or The skin of dreams (1944)
On est toujours trop bon avec les femmes or We always treat women too well (1947)
Le Journal intime de Sally Mara (1950)
Le Dimanche de la vie or The Sunday of life (1952)
Zazie dans le mÃ©tro or Zazie in the metro (1959)
Les Fleurs bleues or Between blue and blue (1965)
Le Vol d’Icare or The flight of Icarus (1968)
ChÃªne et chien (1937)
Les Ziaux (1943)
L’Instant fatal (1946)
Petite cosmogonie portative (1950)
Cent Mille Milliards de PoÃ¨mes or Hundred Thousand Billion Poems (1961)
Le chien Ã la mandoline (1965)
Battre la campagne or Beating the bushes (1967)
Courir les rues or Pounding the pavements (1967)
Fendre les flots (1969)
Morale Ã©lÃ©mentaire (1975)
Essays and articles
BÃ¢tons, chiffres et lettres (1950)
Pour Une BibliothÃ¨que IdÃ©ale (1956)
Entretiens avec Georges Charbonnier (1962)
Une Histoire modÃ¨le (1966)
Le Voyage en GrÃ¨ce (1973)
TraitÃ© des vertus dÃ©mocratiques (1993)
Exercises de Style or Exercises in style (1947)
Contes et propos (1981)
Journal 1939-1940 (1986)
Journaux 1914-1965 (1996)