Saturday, December 24, 2016

Lipogram

This is specifically for my reading friends. Have you ever heard the word lipogram. I certainly hadn't but Christmas Eve I got my regular email from How to Geek and discovered:

The lipogram is a curiosity that extends all the way back to Ancient Greece, wherein the author of a poem or piece of literature goes out of their way to exclude a letter or group of letters from the work in question.
While the exclusion of uncommon letters is a trivial task (and can even happen by accident, as we find with Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, which doesn’t contain the letter “Z”), for centuries authors have grappled with much more challenging tasks—like writing stories without very common letters like “E” or “A” in them.
Some of the more notable lipograms are astonishing in their scope. The Greek poet Nestor of Laranda’s lipogramic adaptation of Homer’s Iliad was comprised of 24 books, just like the original, with each book omitting the subsequent Greek letter (thus the first book omitted the alpha character, the second omitted the beta character, and so on).
If you’re looking for an English language lipogram to dig into, Ernest Vincent Wright’s 1939 novel Gadsby includes over 50,000 words, but not a single letter “E”.
I found this absolutely fascinating. I have never read Gadsby but I guess I should check it out. I cannot imagine writing so many words and not including the letter "E". Obviously the word "the" doesn't occur in the book at all. Maybe I should try and write a blog without one specific letter.

I am up to my ears in Christmas preparations. I have a 17 lb turkey instead of 13 lbs. Tonight it goes in the brine but obviously it will have to take a bath before hand.

Have a great day
 

24 comments:

  1. I have seen crossword puzzles where only certain letters are used, but was unaware of authors specifically not using a letter. I am sure I could write quite a bit, or make a puzzle without a q or z. Wink, wink.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, sure Denise. But 50,000 words?

      Delete
    2. If you notice, I used q and z in one sentence.

      Delete
    3. No, I didn't notice, duuh. I have been thinking of sentences without e in them and seems very difficult to me.

      Delete
  2. BTW, one of the subjects I taught when I was teaching in the lab was lipidemiology. I thought lipogram was a new way of detecting fats in the body, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I was figuring it out, or trying to, I was working on lipo being something to do with fats, obviously wrong.

      Delete
  3. I didn't know this word or what it meant before today. Fascinating. I can't imagine writing a whole book without the word "e". That in itself is an accomplishment.

    Just have to make a rum cake this afternoon and we are set for Christmas (well then I have to make a macaroni salad and potatoes tomorrow but that won't be too bad).

    Merry Christmas!

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know Betty, incredible. Rum cake sounds good. I have several things to do tomorrow, including cooking the turkey.

      Delete
  4. I was friends with a lawyer who was also a writer, in Berkeley, and he would experiment with writing styles like that. He also once wrote a multipage short story that was one long sentence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's interesting JoJo. Did you read the story? Some people are really original thinkers.

      Delete
  5. Never heard that word before - what a curious practice - fascinating.
    Have a lovely Christmas Jo and enjoy the turkey .
    All the best for a peaceful new year. Fil
    Fil’s Place - Old songs and Memories

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strange isn't it Fil, just cannot imagine being able to do it anyway.

      I hope you have a lovely Christmas too and you have a successful New Year.

      Delete
  6. We, it's Christmas morning here Jo and I want to wish you a very merry Christmas. I hope that massive turkey is delicious. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's 7:45 p.m. here Pinky. I just shoved the dicky bird in the brine and put it on my balcony. Thank God I still have one. Lots of people don't. I have just given it a bath and will bathe it again tomorrow to get rid of all the brine. Just as well I like turkey LOL. Have a great day Pinky and Scotto.

      Delete
  7. The very idea of writing without 'e' is mind-boggling!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try it in your next book Satima. LOL

      Delete
  8. I have friends who play with poetry by doing things like this but I'd never heard of this particular word or of it being applied to something as big as a novel.
    Enjoy your turkey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know Helen, interesting concept isn't it?

      I will, it goes into the oven in about an hour.

      Delete
  9. I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, dear Jo, and I wish you all the best...not only now, but always! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Linda. I do hope you enjoyed your Christmas too.

      Delete
  10. Hi Jo - I didn't recognise the word 'lipogram' .. but knew the concept, but not the origin.

    I'm sure your turkey was delicious, as too your Christmas meal ... have a lovely last week of 2017 .. cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nor me Hilary. I had vaguely heard of the concept but didn't realise whole books had been written that way.

      Much to my delight it was delicious. First time I have cooked a whole bird in probably 15 years.

      Delete