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Thursday, October 30, 2008


Apparently a Candian writer named Christian Bok published a pretty interesting book in 2001 and it took the BBC 7 years to write an article about it. The book is called "Eunoia" and is noteworthy because each chapter makes use of only one vowel!!!

Normally I'm a little suspicious of gimmicky stuff like this - I hate the idea of choosing a style that deliberately limits your ability to express yourself freely, since for me the purpose of writing and reading (literature, poetry, drama, etc) is to tap in to some relevant human experience. An a priori imposition of certain stylistic restrictions can only hamper that goal, right? I suppose I don't thoroughly feel that way, and I wouldn't support the argument in all cases, but it flashes through my head whenever I hear of something like this.

Even more the case when the article points out that "Mr Bok believes his book proves that each vowel has its own personality." As if we're in some Dr. Seuss book where each letter has its own hat and socks, color schemes and preferred flavors of cheese. However, just reading the excerpts of the book that make up the above BBC article, I really do get a weird feeling that the guy is right. It's almost a truism to say it, but each vowel has a certain set of sounds, and more particularly, related consonant combinations, that all add up to give a certain eerie feeling about each piece. I haven't spent enough time on it to really be able to explain the bizarre synesthesia that results from the passages, but try it for yourself. It turns out that I really don't like the letter A too much, and that I kind of love E, and U is unusually suuthing.

Note that the author doesn't cheat like me.

Just for fun, of these two little guys, which one would you name "Kiki," and which one would you name "Bouba?"


David said...

I think I find it idyllic.

Mike said...

boo, how poor! now try forty words. work on, boor. only on my blog!

David said...

Why is Mick illicit? I'll try it, silly. Imp!

Bob said...

you are all crazy. Trying to read any of those excerpts in the article taxed my brain way too much. I couldn't imagine the whole book.

Now, to type in only four... that is a true goal.

Mike said...

yes! my mind did turn to that old game of ours, dear pal! ah, the days of "to type in only four." when life was so easy - did we not play pong far too much? dave too will know of such a time.

sessio said...

eye two remember how two play inn only fore, though eye no it was first bob and mic's game.

eye found many of the comments awn that article pretty good to.

Mike said...

two right only threw homofones. how phun!