Talk:A Void

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Plot lipogram[edit]

I hope nobody minds but I took the liberty of rewriting the description of the book's plot as a lipogram on "e". I've read the book and a lot of Perec's other work and I think I've preserved the sense of the original text. But if anyone objects then feel free to restore the original. I just thought it would be in the spirit of Perec. (I tried to make it so it wouldn't be immediately noticeable that there's no e.) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Lexo (talkcontribs) 20 October 2005.

Nicely done. Check out Gadsby_(novel) and it's discussion page for a similar treatment there. Stubblyhead 22:28, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

(On 28 March 2006, I publish my submission of this major contribution to that now-flourishing plot summary. I am adding this information at this point simply to avoid confusion such as Mtcr's, and not to fish for criticism, acclaim or rhapsodic salutations.) --RobertGtalk 11:56, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Excellent work! It took me a while to catch on, just as you intended, and it really is pretty clear. Kudos! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 30 March 2006.

Lol. I hope the Wiki nazis don't take this away, like they have been doing to so many other articles. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 25 April 2006.

Oh. So that's why no "chapter." I found "subdivision" kind of distracting, but it'd be coldhearted and anti-artistic to change it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 25 April 2006.

Great work! Just wanted to add my voice of support for the lipogram. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by AshDean (talkcontribs) 4 October 2006.

I agree with the above, this is one of the most brilliant things on Wikipedia I've ever seen. Icebrand 18:55, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

lexo, i thought 'subdivision' a bit clumsy and have changed it to read 'part'; if you object to my alteration, please feel free to dismiss it and revert to your original choice. Mtcr 11:05, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Well Done, very clear and it pretty much all makes perfect sense Shaizakopf 10:54, 6 February 2007

I like the idea a lot, but I think that it should perhaps be prefaced with a disclaimer stating that the following bit was written as such to explain the somewhat awkward phrasing. Typically I'd be against that, as it sort of ruins the "punch" of it, but considering this is an encyclopedia it might want to be pointed out. --Asriel 07:15, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

The summary itself is a bit too artificial for my taste, but the analysis section at the front is perfect... Maybe the summary could be rewritten using appropriate quotes from the novel? I've never read it. 02:00, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

I found reading the summary to extremely unpleasant. A lot of cringe-inducing language. Was there a summary in place before the revision? If so, I can't imagine the original is any worse than what's on the page now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 15 May 2007

A very small one was there. Oh well, each to his own. If you thought reading the article's plot summary was unpleasant, then I think you have been given an appropriate taste of the novel. --RobertGtalk 11:07, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

This is silly and gimmicky. It would do in Uncyclopedia, not in wikipedia. It's supposed to be a serious article, and this kind of thing hinders the language, and strongly decreases the likelihood that anyone will actually take it seriously. These articles are intended to convey information, not make jokes, which is what this ultimately is. If you want to show what a piece of text without e's looks like, I suggest a quote from the book. I can't be bothered to care beyond adding my opinion to the talk page, so I won't change the article. risk (talk) 20:26, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

  • I was actually trying to make a serious point, not to be silly, and as for gimmicky, it's no more gimmicky than the book itself. The serious point was an attempt to write the synopsis clearly and lucidly enough that nobody would notice that it had no e's in it. One of the book's original reviewers failed to notice that very fact. If you think the lipogram isn't all that good, then feel free to improve it. But if, as you say, you can't be bothered to care, then it would be better if you had the manners to refrain from bitching about articles you can't be bothered to improve. Cheers. Lexo (talk) 12:55, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for sounding (being) bitchy. My tone was rude, you're right, but I felt that I needed to make my point clearly, as I seem to be in the minority, at least on this talk page. I do understand that you were making a point by turning the synopsis into a lipogram, and I do in fact think that it's very well done (I didn't even notice it at first), I certainly couldn't improve it. The point I'm trying to make is not that the lipogram isn't good enough, but that it shouldn't be there. The synopsis to Bright Lights, Big City isn't written in the second person, and the synopsis to Memento isn't written backwards. To do that would be a joke, something that simply doesn't belong in an Encyclopedia article. The point of the article should be to convey information as neutrally and with as little ambiguity as possible. If we're showing the reader an example of the writing style, it should be a quote from the book, clearly marked as such. If we're giving the reader a summary of the plot, it should just be a summary of the plot.
The reason I'm not just editing the article, is that there doesn't seem to be consensus on the matter (in fact, I seem to be in the minority). If I were to replace the synopsis with a regular one, it would just get reverted. That's why I made my point as strongly as I did, to start a discussion. Again, it is a good lipogram, and I understand that many people would be sorry to see it go just for the craft that has gone into it. But this is the sort of thing that stops people from taking Wikipedia seriously as a source of information. Sometimes you have to kill your darlings. risk (talk) 16:52, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Ah ha! I just caught that as I was browsing this summary, and all I can say is: tricky! I can only wish this will last, but probably any random fool will modify it without noticing. Slugman 02:23, 7 April 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Slugmaster (talkcontribs)
It didn't dawn on me until I read it a couple of times. Well done. I do think, though, that a disclaimer might nevertheless be useful.
One other question, though, since it's been a while since I've seen the book--does it never use je at all, even in constructions such as j'ai faim (I'm hungry), or "il m'a dit" (he told me), etc.? Samer (talk) 18:58, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
  • I was reading through this and was all like, "Huh, it would be really neat if this article was a lipogram." Then I noticed that the summary was. Good job, whoever did that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:41, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

I enjoyed the lipogram as well. Excellent work! All the sacrifices were worthwhile. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:56, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

e in Anton Voyls Fortgang?![edit]

Douglas Hofstadter claims in Le Ton Beau de Marot (p 121) that a single 'e' occurs in the German translation, very early on. I'd think this would be a ruinous blemish if true. Can anyone with access to the German translation confirm? I can see that possibly Hofstadter is joking, but if so, I don't see his point. 21:57, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Possibly 'e' isn't such a common letter in German, so the author substituted a different constraint? That's why the Spanish version has three e's in its title, for example. 02:01, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
No, the German version also lacks "e". 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * 10:26, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
German has an even higher frequency of the letter e than English – about 19% if I recall. — BillC talk 01:05, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't know, but "a foam-capp'd flood rushing inland" from the English version seems like cheating to me. (talk) 15:30, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Nice catch! 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 23:32, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Opening paragraph[edit]

Does the opening paragraph seem weird to anyone else? It essentially says the following:

A Void is a 300 page French lipogrammatic novel... Its translation into English by Gilbert Adair is entitled A Void.

-Adjusting (talk) 20:46, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

That's a good point. I'll see what can be done about that. -Phoenixrod (talk) 18:13, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

La Disparition[edit]

Shouldn't this article be first and foremost about the original book 'La Disparition' and mention the translation, rather than the other way around? (talk) 22:40, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Good question, but I disagree. Ian Monk, who translated Perec's Les Revenentes (a short story in which the only vowel is 'e'), has strongly criticised Adair's work on the grounds that it departs too far from the tone and content of the original book. Monk did his own version, as noted in the article. For this reason, I think that there's a good reason to treat 'A Void' as a separate work from 'La Disparition'. There probably ought to be a separate page on 'La Disparition', however. The French wikipedia has a not bad one. Lexo (talk) 12:45, 27 May 2008 (UTC)


Apology: it was a wrong summary at my undo, it should say "Undid 399990618; this part accords with MOS and so on and without advancing any 'participatory pov' of the work. Barring a plot's own constraint, found at our first paragraph, it is not uncyclopædic as it was." cygnis insignis 07:31, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Yet it is better as it is now. Wikipedia articles should be written in the clearest possible language, avoid hidden links (as in "his column" linking not to that author's column but to the paper it appeared in), and should explicitly state relevant information - in this case the lack of use of the letter E. Regards, ClovisPt (talk) 17:26, 2 December 2010 (UTC)


The article reads: “In French, the phrase "sans e" ("without e") sounds very much like "sans eux" ("without them")” Actually, "sans e" and "sans eux" are pronounced exactly the same by any competent speaker, just like "allô" and "à l'eau" (or "une voix" and "une voie") are indistinguishable without more context. "sounds very much like" should have been "sounds exactly like" Amenel (talk) 15:05, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

perhaps they aren't indistinguishable in all accents? --dan (talk) 06:55, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

"E" on Spanish[edit]

I changed the wrong fact of the "a" being the most common letter on Spanish. It is the "e" the most commonly used, "a" is second, as you can read here: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:18, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Separate book and translation?[edit]

As discussed above, maybe instead of having an article about La Disparition be focused on A Void, maybe it would make sense to have two separate articles--one about the original book in French, and one about the translation. This seems important due to the linguistic differences; either way, it seems important for La Disparition to have its own article (or at least be the main book in an article, with translations being secondary). Oeoi (talk) 02:32, 12 December 2016 (UTC)