Raymond Queneau (1903-1976), co-founder of the Oulipo, maintained a brief association with the Surrealists (which ended tempestuously in 1929) before becoming an important writer, editor, and formidable cultural personality. Assiduous student of Hegel in Alexandre Kojève’s seminar, in his early years Queneau pursued research on “literary madmen,” developed a deep interest in math, and wrote many novels, poems, songs and critical articles. In 1950 he enters the Académie Goncourt as well as the College de ‘Pataphysique. Later, he becomes the director in chief of the Edition de la Pléiade’s prestigious Encyclopédie, in addition to serving on that publishing house’s editorial board. His Cent mille milliards de poèmes (1960) is the first properly Oulipian work.
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