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Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Wright's Gadsby Available Online

In 1939, Ernest Vincent Wright published Gadsby, a novel of more than 50,000 words which never once uses the letter "e". This most curious volume has become somewhat of a collector's item--used copies on ABE and Amazon seem to start at around USD85 and go up from there.

Fortunately, an online edition is now available, including the author's delighful introduction (which does use the letter "e") which explains his strong construction of the constraint, which caused him to reject abbreviations such as "Mr." and "Mrs." which would, if expanded or spoken, use the letter "e". The fact that most past tenses in English end in "-ed" is particularly challenging, as well as the fact that every numeral greater than six and less than thirty is excluded, as well as most common pronouns.

And, of course, the story must end with "Finis" coronat opus, as "The End" is doubly right out!

Posted at May 4, 2005 00:10