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Summary Article: Queneau, Raymond
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

French surrealist poet and humorous novelist. His published works, which frequently make use of everyday slang, as well as mathematical and geometrical forms, include the novels Odile (1937); La Dimanche de la vie/The Sunday of Life (1952); and Zazie dans le Metro/Zazie in the Metro (1959), a portrayal of a precocious young Parisian woman. Zazie dans le Metro was made into a successful film by Louis Malle in 1960.

Queneau was born in Le Havre, France, and was educated at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he first became acquainted with surrealism. He did military service in 1925–27, and was stationed for a time in Algeria and Morocco. After returning to France he broke off relations with André Breton, the leader of the surrealist movement, in 1929, and, during the 1930s, travelled widely in Europe. He edited a number of literary journals, wrote a daily column entitled ‘Connaissez-vous Paris?/Do You Know Paris?’ for the newspaper L'Intransigeant (1936–38), and worked for a time as a reader for the publishers Gallimard. In 1951 he was elected to the prestigious Académie Goncourt. Queneau was also responsible for the publication of Russian-born French philosopher Alexandre Kojève's influential Introduction to the Reading of Hegel (1947), which was based on the notes he took at Kojève's lectures at the École des Hautes Études in Paris, France. His other published works include the novels Un Rude Hiver/A Harsh Winter (1939), Pierrot mon ami/My Friend Pierrot (1942), and Loin de Rueil/Far From Rueil (1944); the poetry collections Sonnets (1960), and Cent milles millards de poèmes/100 Thousand Billion Poems (1961); and the essay collection Bâtons, chiffres, et lettres (1965). His more obviously experimental works include Exercices de style/Exercises in Style (1947), in which the same anecdote is recounted 99 times in different styles.

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