Quotes from Cigarettes

Two brief quotes from Harry Mathews’ Cigarettes on writing, that show the oulipian influence at work:

“Morris was showing him what writing could do. He advanced the notion that creation begins by annihilating typical forms and procedures, especially the illusory “naturalness” of sequence and coherence.” (135)

“He went through Lewis’s work with him line by line. He refused to correct; instead, he invented exercises for Lewis. He made him rework passages in other styles. (Lewis’s “breakthrough” took the form of a political polemic rewritten as a love poem.) … Little by little he weaned Lewis from his limitations, his “individuality”: favorite words, repeated sentence rhythms, obsessive metaphors, whatever lead him to shy away from the entirety of language,” (148)