About this Famous Person
French poet and novelist and the co-founder of Ouvroir de littérature potentielle (Oulipo)
Published by : robert COMBY , Elise GUILPAIN
Queneau was the only child of Auguste Queneau and Joséphine Mignot. He received his first baccalauréat in 1919 for Latin and Greek, and a second in 1920 for philosophy, then studied at the Sorbonne (1921–1923) where he was a fair student of both letters and mathematics, graduating with certificates in philosophy and psychology.
Queneau performed military service as a zouave in Algeria and Morocco during the years 1925–1926. He married Janine Kahn in 1928, with whom he had a son, Jean-Marie, in 1934. They remained married until Janine's death in 1972. Queneau was drafted in 1939 but demobilized in 1940, and through the remainder of World War II, he and his family lived with the painter Élie Lascaux in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat.
Queneau spent much of his life working for the Gallimard publishing house, where he began as a reader in 1938. He later rose to be general secretary, and eventually became director of l’Encyclopédie de la Pléiade in 1956. During some of this time, he also taught at l’École Nouvelle de Neuilly. He entered the Collège de ‘Pataphysique in 1950, where he became Satrap, and was elected to the Académie Goncourt in 1951, l’Académie de l’Humour in 1952, and the jury of the Cannes Film Festival 1955–1957.
During this time, Queneau also acted as a translator, notably for Amos Tutuola's Palm Wine Drinkard (L'Ivrogne dans la brousse) in 1953. Additionally, he edited and published Alexandre Kojève's lectures on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. Queneau had been a student of Kojève's during the 1930s and was, during this period, also close to writer Georges Bataille.
As an author, Queneau came to general attention in France with the publication in 1959 of his novel Zazie dans le métro, and again in 1960 with the film adaptation by Louis Malle at the height of the Nouvelle Vague movement. Zazie explores colloquial language as opposed to 'standard' written French; a distinction which is perhaps more marked in French than in some other languages. The first word of the book, the alarmingly long "Doukipudonktan" is a phonetic transcription of "D'où qu'ils puent donc tant?" "Why do they stink so much?".
Source : http://www.wikipedia.org/
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