Why I Have Not Written Any of My Books
Publication Date: March 1996
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Marcel Bénabou is quick to acknowledge that his own difficulty in writing has plenty of company. Words stick and syntax is stubborn, meaning slips and synonyms cluster. A blank page taunts and a full one accuses. Bénabou knows the heroic joy of depriving critics of victims, the kindness of sparing publishers decisions, and the public charity of leaving more room in bookstore displays. Why I Have Not Written Any of My Books (Pourquoi je n’ai écrit aucun de mes livres) provides both a respectful litany of writers’ fears and a dismissal of the alibis offered to excuse them.
The author (or not) of a dozen books, Marcel Bénabou is a professor of ancient history at the University of Paris VII and permanent provisional secretary of Oulipo. David Kornacker is a writer and translator living in New York City. Warren Motte is a professor of French at the University of Colorado.
"A witty catalog of all the vanities, attitudes and delusions that writers employ to escape their work."—Laura Miller, New York Times Book Review
"Bénabou addresses conflicting impulses between writing and reading, writing and living, following great models and being original. And he has a great deal of gentle self-deprecating fun while doing it. But this isn’t just about the wordplay beloved of French modernists. At base it is a lovely book about the love of books and of language and all that goes into making them, be it paper or words."—Publishers Weekly
"As this deft translation in Nebraska’s excellent French Modernist Library series confirms, Bénabou can cartwheel with the best of them. Why I Have Not Written Any of My Books makes mischief with treasured literary clichés and will amuse and provoke the scoundrel in every writer’s soul."—Philadelphia Inquirer
"Wrapped in hilarious self-ironizing waffle, [Bénabou’s book] is a serious, largely autobiographical account . . . of how difficult it is to write a book. . . . Unfailingly amusing."–Times Literary Supplement
"This is the ''madness of art.''"—Review of Contemporary Fiction
"A mercurially playful paradox of confessional literature, authorial awakening, and creative endeavor."—Kirkus Reviews