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Shadow Dragon
12-25-2012, 02:41 AM
I am curious as to what other writers think about the first novel written without verbs.


First, there was the novel written without using the letter "e". Now a French author has produced what he claims is the first book with no verbs.

Perhaps inevitably, critics have commented unfavourably on the lack of action in Michel Thaler's work, The Train from Nowhere, which runs to 233 pages. Instead of action, lengthy passages are filled with florid adjectives in a series of vitriolic portraits of dislikeable passengers on a train.

In a typical piece of prose, Mr Thaler writes: ". . . Those women there, probably mothers, bearers of ideas far too voluminous for their brains of modest capacity."

A less-than-glowing review in the respected magazine Le Nouvel Observateur described his book as "disagreeable" and said its scathing descriptions of women travellers displayed "a rare misogyny".

Yet he is equally disparaging of male passengers. He describes one as a "large dwarf or small giant - a young buck with a gelled mop with ideas, at first glance, shorter than his hair, and not longer than the bristles on a toothbrush, perhaps shorter".

The author, a doctor of literature who admits that "Thaler" is a pseudonym, and who has not previously written books under the name, said it was liberating to write without verbs, which he describes as "invaders, dictators, and usurpers of our literature".

"My book is a revolution in the history of literature. It is the first book of its kind. It's daring, modern and is to literature what the great Dada and Surrealist movements were to art," said Mr Thaler, an eccentric who refuses to reveal his real name or age, beyond admitting to being in his sixties.

"The verb is like a weed in a field of flowers," he said. "You have to get rid of it to allow the flowers to grow and flourish.

-SNIP-

In France, with its long and distinguished literary heritage, the reading public is struggling to fathom whether the work is any more than an exercise in semantics and strangled grammar.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/1461377/Fictitious-author-publishes-the-first-book-without-verbs.html

From what I've read, the author acts like a twit, pretty much a walking cliche of the arrogant artist trope, and the book is nothing more than a bunch of descriptions and insults towards random people on a bus.

Buffysquirrel
12-25-2012, 02:45 AM
Truthfully? If people want to write gimmicky books, that's fine. But they needn't expect me to read them.

Kerosene
12-25-2012, 02:46 AM
:crazy:

James D. Macdonald
12-25-2012, 02:54 AM
Note that there hasn't been a second book written without the letter 'e'.

I doubt there'll be a second book written without verbs.

SomethingOrOther
12-25-2012, 02:57 AM
Some months ago I made reference to a novel I wrote that contains *only* the letter 'e'.


I can write a novel an hour. Here's an excerpt from my latest such creation, The Letter e.


eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

You'll never guess what happens at the climax. SPOILER WARNING: (One of the e's gets capitalized.)

gingerwoman
12-25-2012, 04:24 AM
I am curious as to what other writers think about the first novel written without verbs.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/1461377/Fictitious-author-publishes-the-first-book-without-verbs.html

From what I've read, the author acts like a twit, pretty much a walking cliche of the arrogant artist trope, and the book is nothing more than a bunch of descriptions and insults towards random people on a bus.
Isn't it a train?

gingerwoman
12-25-2012, 04:28 AM
"large dwarf or small giant - a young buck with a gelled mop with ideas, at first glance, shorter than his hair, and not longer than the bristles on a toothbrush, perhaps shorter".Does no verbs mean no editor?
And who talks about their own work as being daring, modern and comparable to Dada? lol so much.
The large dwarf or small giant thing is also completely meaningless. lol

PorterStarrByrd
12-25-2012, 04:28 AM
doesn't do anything for me ... :)

SomethingOrOther
12-25-2012, 04:32 AM
Does no verbs mean no editor?

It's really a surprise that a humble, level-headed gentleman such as him would think himself above the services of an editor! There must be a very good reason. Perhaps editors are the invaders, dictators, and usurpers of our literature!

flapperphilosopher
12-25-2012, 05:13 AM
I think that's just silly.

Plus what kind of sense does this make?


"The verb is like a weed in a field of flowers," he said. "You have to get rid of it to allow the flowers to grow and flourish.

If you can't write a sentence attacking verbs without using FIVE of them ["is", "have to", "get rid", "grow", "flourish"].... maybe they do, ya know, serve a purpose.

buz
12-25-2012, 05:28 AM
Verbs can't die without a verb to do it with, can they?

DancingMaenid
12-25-2012, 05:39 AM
I'm all for experimentation with language. But that doesn't mean that the outcome will always be good, or that it should necessarily be published and sold. And neither the book nor the author seem to have very good attitudes.

Susan Littlefield
12-25-2012, 05:40 AM
This makes me sad. Verbs are darned beautiful.

blacbird
12-25-2012, 05:48 AM
Obviously he nouned and adjectived it too much, and it should have been verbed more.

caw

benbradley
12-25-2012, 08:04 AM
"I accidentally a novel!"

Verbs can't die without a verb to do it with, can they?
Verbs can make up two-thirds of very dramatic sentences:
Die, verb, die!"

I'm all for experimentation with language. But that doesn't mean that the outcome will always be good, or that it should necessarily be published and sold. And neither the book nor the author seem to have very good attitudes.
Oh, I don't see any problem with it being published, or being sold to a willing buyer. Good luck finding a willing buyer for this.

Chasing the Horizon
12-25-2012, 09:08 AM
What did the verbs ever do to him? Wait, he won't be able to tell us because describing action requires verbs. Oh, well. I didn't really care anyway.

Medievalist
12-25-2012, 09:24 AM
"First they came for the verbs and I said nothing, for verbing weirds language. Then they arrival for the nouns and I speech nothing, for I no verbs."

Attributed to Peter Ellis (via Diane Duane)

Samsonet
12-25-2012, 09:52 AM
Does it count as disrespecting my fellow writer for me to say that I really like how he compares his work to "Dada and the Surrealist movements"? And the arrogance with which he says that verbs aren't really necessary to language?

Jamesaritchie
12-25-2012, 10:08 AM
I'd probably like the novel more if he wrote it using only verbs.

blacbird
12-26-2012, 02:13 AM
How, if he has no verbs, can he ever possibly use adverbs?

caw

benbradley
12-26-2012, 02:30 AM
Unwillingly.

Samsonet
12-26-2012, 03:34 AM
Unknowingly?

Buffysquirrel
12-26-2012, 03:36 AM
Insincerely.

Susan Littlefield
12-26-2012, 04:06 AM
Exactly.

Jamesaritchie
12-26-2012, 05:03 AM
How, if he has no verbs, can he ever possibly use adverbs?

caw

He uses minusverbs instead?

fadeaccompli
12-26-2012, 05:40 AM
How, if he has no verbs, can he ever possibly use adverbs?

caw

Carefully. Exquisitely! With very great vigor. Perhaps even awkwardly. The implication, there, of slightly inappropriate handling. The omission of 'to be' in any manner, always useful.

Now, gerunds... What of gerunds? Gerundives? Adjectives formed from verbs? No main verbs? Sentence fragments sufficient unto his purpose, or no? No answers there? His line-drawing, between one part of speech and the next... No, no. Verbal nouns, those awkward bastards, those inbetweeners! The back of my hand to them.

gingerwoman
12-26-2012, 06:50 AM
a walking cliche of the arrogant artist trope,
I hope it is a schtick.

VanessaNorth
12-26-2012, 06:58 AM
La verbe est morte. Vive la verbe.

thebloodfiend
12-26-2012, 07:08 AM
Odd. Man with dumb book idea, arrogant much? Verbs: not evil. In fact, verbs: awesome. Very much so.

Okay, I'll hand it to him. Writing without verbs requires a bit of thinking. I still think he's being pretentious little spechul flower.

Samsonet
12-26-2012, 08:00 AM
But I love pretentious little speshul snowflakes!

Cornelius Gault
12-26-2012, 08:48 AM
You could write an entire story using only the letter E, where differences in capitalization convert into the binary equivalent of the letter (steganography). Of course, nobody could read it directly without running it through a translator.

phantasy
12-26-2012, 10:15 AM
I bet the story was boring?

Dawnstorm
12-26-2012, 12:55 PM
How, if he has no verbs, can he ever possibly use adverbs?

caw

A surprisingly easy task, that.

LindaJeanne
12-26-2012, 03:19 PM
Verbs present by implication; the outline of the verb. Formation, the other words, clear presence. Especially adverbs: the shape of the verb, distinct, obvious. Verbs of existence, especially.

I do hope his attitude (towards verbs, and in general) is a shtick to get publicity for the book. It's an interesting experiment, but I won't be reading a novel-length coellction of sentence fragments.

calieber
12-27-2012, 02:20 AM
Note that there hasn't been a second book written without the letter 'e'.

There has, if you count Oulipo output as ... well, anything. But being Oulipo output, La Disapparition was written more as a curiosity than as literature. Though I imagine you could say the same thing about Gadsby.

BardSkye
12-27-2012, 03:30 AM
Alas, there's no cure for stupid.

JoeSmith
12-27-2012, 08:09 PM
With regards to this book the author should have considered the advice 'Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should'

kkbe
12-27-2012, 08:25 PM
I can see that being an interesting assignment in English class, to hammer home the concept of 'verb': "Class, today each of you will craft a paragraph with a minimum of four sentences, which won't actually be sentences. The theme of your paragraph shall be, Why verbs suck. You may not use any verbs in your paragraph."

Homework will be, Write a paragraph without nouns or pronouns.

Quiz: Construct a story without a beginning, middle, or end.

Final exam: Write a story without words, use only whole numbers between 1 and 2.

Phaeal
12-27-2012, 10:49 PM
There's little more beautiful than a vigorous and apt verb.

And weeds have flowers, too.

And wherever you (delete) a verb, you still (imply) it. Especially the great base verbs, to be and to have.

calieber
12-28-2012, 10:00 PM
I just keep thinking of Kēlen (http://www.terjemar.net/kelen.php), which if you actually look at it does have verbs, they just aren't called that; it's the opposite of the five-legged dog.

victoriastrauss
12-28-2012, 10:14 PM
What struck me as deliciously ironic was the number of verbs he used in defending himself against critics.

- Victoria