This French author of treatises on mathematics and other scholarly works has made his reputation writing comic novels. Raymond Queneau (through one of his characters) once defined humor as "an attempt to purge lofty feelings of all the baloney." Roger Shattuck interprets his philosophy: "Life is of course absurd and it is ludicrous to take it seriously; only the comic is serious." Life is so serious to Queneau that only laughter makes it bearable. He has written a play, screenplays, poetry, numerous articles, and many novels, the first of which, Le Chiendent (The Bark Tree), was published in 1933. In Exercises in Style (1947) he tells a simple anecdote 99 different ways. According to some critics, The Blue Flowers (1965) represents Queneau at his best. Its jokes, puns, double-entendres, deceptions, wild events, tricky correspondences, and bawdy language make it a feast of comic riches. The influence of Charlie Chaplin, as well as James Joyce is detectable in Queneau's fiction.