a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|Odile (1937) || Raymond Queneau |
|A humorous semi-autobiographical novel by this famous, French, surrealistic author.
Larry D'Antonio, Ramapo College|
Queneau seems to have had some training as a mathematician and was friends
with several leading French mathematicians. This book is generally
considered a satire of the Surrealist movement (of which Queneau was an
early member). But one of the main characters is a mathematics student and
has a long discussion with one of his friends about mathematics.
(Not a work of fiction, but worth mentioning: Queneau wrote a poetry work
entitled 100,000,000,000,000 Poems. It consists of 10 sonnets with the
property that any line of any sonnet may be substituted for any other,
similarly numbered, line to create a new sonnet. Hence there are 10^14
different possible poems.)
Queneau's writing is also featured in Mathematical Magpie where there is reproduced three humorous excerpts:
- In Excercices de Style, a scene on a bus is redescribed in 99 different ways. One of the ways is mathematical (e.g. "In a rectangular parallelepiped moving along a line representing an integral solution of the second-order differential equation...").
- In Cahiers du College de Pataphysique No 1, Queneau notes that "All attempts, from earliest times to the present day, to demonstrate that 2+2=4 have failed to take into account the velocity of the wind"...and proceeds to fill that gap.
- And in "At the Edge of the Forest" he uses limits to make a talking dog disappear.
|Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at amazon.com. |
|(Note: This is just one work of
mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more
works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)|
May 2016: I am experimenting with a new feature which will print a picture of the cover and a link to the Amazon.com page for a work of mathematical fiction when it is available. I hope you find this useful and convenient. In any case, please write to let me know if it is because I would be happy to either get rid of it or improve it if that would be better for you. Thanks! -Alex
(Maintained by Alex Kasman,
College of Charleston)