Saint Glinglin

Front Cover
Dalkey Archive Press, 1993 - Fiction - 169 pages
0 Reviews
The last of his major novels to be translated into English, Saint Glinglin is Queneau's tragicomic masterpiece, a novel that critic Vivian Mercier said "can be mentioned without incongruity in the company" of Mann's Magic Mountain and Joyce's Ulysses. "By turns strange, beautiful, ludicrous, and intellectually stimulating" (as Mercier goes on to say), Saint Glinglin retells the primal Freudian myth of sons killing the father in an array of styles ranging from direct narrative, soliloquy, and interior monologue to quasi-biblical verse. In this strange tale of a land where it never rains, where a bizarre festival is held every Saint Glinglin's Day, Queneau deploys fractured syntax, hidden structures, self-imposed constraints (no words with the letter x until the final word of the novel), playful allusions, and puns and neologisms to explore the most basic concepts of culture. In the process, Queneau satirizes anthropology, folklore, philosophy, and epistemology, all the while spinning a story as appealing as a fairy tale. As translator James Sallis writes in his informative introduction, "Queneau saw science and literature much in the same light: as games offering marvelous opportunities to make all sorts of connections and play out the consequence of arbitrary rules, but offering no essential knowledge of things in themselves". And as he says of Saint Glinglin, "There's nothing quite like it anywhere".

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Queneau (The Last Days, etc.), who died in 1976, is best known as a precursor of postmodernism, and this inventive fiction, published in French in 1948, has a wonderful time playing with itself: it's ... Read full review

Saint Glinglin

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The novels of Queneau (1903-76) were forerunners of le nouveau roman (the "new novel''), which rejected traditional methods of plotting and characterization and instead created fantastical fictional ... Read full review



4 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1993)

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.

Bibliographic information