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Wednesday 3 October 2012

Nuts and Bolts: lipograms.

Language is magical, complex and flexible. It can transmit almost any thought from one blancmange-like blob of a brain to another completely separate blancmange-like blob of a brain.


And without ever running out of charge.

Hang on, let's just stop for a moment and contemplate the beauty of it.

Isn't it marvellous.

Some people, though, are never satisfied. That's why we have lipograms.

A lipogram is a piece of writing which deliberately misses out one or more letters of the alphabet.

No, I don't know why, either, but there have been whole novels written without, for example, the letter e (Ernest Vincent Wright's e-less novel Gadsby is over 50,000 words long). Even more bafflingly, people have written lipogrammatic versions of the Iliad (Nestor of Laranada), the Odyssey(Tryphiodorus), and Hamlet (Gyles Brandreth).

On which note, baffled and feeling slightly faint, I think I'll go and have a nice lie down.

Thing To Do If You Can Really Be Bothered: construct a lipogram.

This post is lipogrammatic in that I don't think it contains the letter between p and r, or the last letter of the alphabet. There may be other letters missed out, too. Feel free to check, folks - though I really do hope you've got better things to do.

The word lipogram comes from the Greek leipein, to omit, and graphein, to write.

1 comment:

  1. Good Lord! As if writing weren't hard enough as it was....and I never knew the name of that leaving out letters so as ever, I learn something here! And lipothingies going so far back...amazing.


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