Daniel Levin Becker
All That Is Evident Is Suspect:
Readings from the Oulipo: 1963–2018
This event includes a book signing
January 8, 2019
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes critic, editor, and translator DANIEL LEVIN BECKER—member of the French literary workshop Oulipo—for a discussion of his latest book, All That Is Evident Is Suspect: Readings from the Oulipo: 1963–2018, co-edited with Ian Monk.
About All That Is Evident Is Suspect
Since its inception in Paris in 1960, the OuLiPo―ouvroir de littérature potentielle, or workshop for potential literature―has continually expanded our sense of what writing can do. It’s produced, among many other marvels, a detective novel without the letter e (and a sequel of sorts without a, i, o, u, or y); an epic poem structured by the Parisian métro system; a story in the form of a tarot reading; a poetry book in the form of a game of go; and a suite of sonnets that would take almost 200 million years to read completely.
Lovers of literature are likely familiar with the novels of the best-known Oulipians―Italo Calvino, Georges Perec, Harry Mathews, Raymond Queneau―and perhaps even the small number of texts available in English on the group, including Warren Motte’s Oulipo: A Primer of Potential Literature and Daniel Levin Becker’s Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature. But the actual work of the group in its full, radiant collectivity has never before been showcased in English. (“The State of Constraint,” a dossier in issue 22 of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, comes closest.)
Enter All That Is Evident Is Suspect: the first collection in English to offer a life-size picture of the group in its historical and contemporary incarnations, and the first in any language to represent all of its members (numbering 41 as of April 2018). Combining fiction, poetry, essays and lectures, and never-published internal correspondence―along with the acrobatically constrained writing and complexly structured narratives that have become synonymous with oulipian practice―this volume shows a unique group of thinkers and artists at work and at play, meditating on and subverting the facts of life, love, and the group itself. It’s an unprecedentedly intimate and comprehensive glimpse at the breadth and diversity of one of world literature’s most vital, adventurous presences.
Discussed: sharks as poets and vice versa, the Brisbane pitch drop experiment, novel classifications for real or imaginary libraries, the monumental sadness of difficult loves, the obsolescence of the novel, the symbolic significance of the cup-and-ball game, holiday closures across the Francophone world, what happens at Fahrenheit 452, Warren G. Harding’s dark night of the soul, Marcel Duchamp’s imperviousness to conventional spacetime laws, bilingual palindromes, cartoon eodermdromes, oscillating poems, métro poems, metric poems, literary madness, straw cultivation.
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.
While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:
- Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
- Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
- Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.
Ordering a signed book by phone:
- Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
- If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.
Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.
Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!
Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.
I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.
More questions? Give us a call!
Featured event books will be for sale at the event. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
Updates during COVID-19
Review our guidelines for visitors and other updates on hours and services at Harvard Book Store this summer.Learn More »
Stay Up Late Fundraiser
Stay up late into the night with our limited edition t-shirt and tote bag, a Harvard Book Store fundraiser.Learn More »
Support Harvard Book Store
Thank you for making a financial contribution to support Harvard Book StoreLearn More »