Return to Lipogram (idea)

A [Missing a mark|lipogram] is a text written completely without the use of one letter (the most common letter to exclude is 'e' - a lipogram with 'z' is far less intresting). The word itself is a '[back-formation]' of the Greek adjective lipogrammatos which means 'wanting a letter'. The word was first used by the playwright [Joseph Addison] in 1711 in his work The Spectator. In this piece he looks upon lipograms in a poor light classifying them as "false [wit]" akin to [anagram metanode|anagrams] claiming that wordplay alone does not create great literature.

The most famous of these is [Gadsby], written by [Ernest Vincent Wright] in 1939 - a total of 287 pages. Another [novel] along this artistic line, several other works exist [Georges Perec] with his novel [La disparation] published in 1969 (the English translation is [A Void] by [Gilbert Adair]).

In 1820, Dr. Franz Rittler published [Die Zwillinge] which was written without the use of the letter 'r'. In 1800 the Russian poet [Gavrila Romanovich Dershavin] write the novel [A Waggish Wish] without the letter 'r' and remarkably few 'o's.

An except from Gadsby:

Gadsby was walking back from a visit down in Branton Hills' [manufacturing district] on a [Saturday] night. A busy day's traffic had its noisy run; and with not many folks in sight; His Honor got along without having to stop to grasp a hand, or talk; for a [Mayor] out of [City Hall] is a shining [mark] for any [politician]. And so, coming to [Broadway], a booming [bass drum] and sounds of singing, told of a small [Salvation Army] unit carrying on amidst Broadway's night shopping crowds. Gadsby, walking toward that group, saw a young [girl], back towards him, just finishing a long soulful [oration], saying: --

". . . and I can say this to you, for I know what I am talking about; for I was brought up in a pool of [liquor]!!"