The OuLiPo Group (3067 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

The Name

The OuLiPo (Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle) was founded by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais in 1960. The name is an acronym, generally loosely translated into English as “Workshop of Potential Literature”. Looking at each French term individually reveals subtle indications about the group and its goals. Ouvroir is an archaic word that has been mostly eliminated from contemporary French. Etymologically related to ouvrer or the verb “to work” and œuvre or “a work”, the term has three distinct possible meanings: 1. A place of work, where (within a community of women or a convent) one sews; 2. A workshop (generally confessional) where benevolent individuals sew objects for …

Citation: Berkman, Natalie. "The OuLiPo Group". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 December 2014 [, accessed 17 April 2021.]

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