Q: What does a geeky word-enthusiast who’s just cancelled her cable do for entertainment?
A: She re-reads one of her favorite lipograms, of course!
Yes, I’ve just finished re-reading Ernest Vincent Wright’s Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words Without Using the Letter “E”.
It is the best story I’ve ever read? Certainly not; but it’s one of my favorites because it really does show that language can be fun, entertaining, and quirky. It also displays how someone with a grasp for the language (and with a thesaurus at the ready) can communicate their thoughts and ideas with alternative words and phrases.
I find the idea of challenging the English language fascinating, and enjoy seeing others break out of the normal flow of our language with such success. And let’s face it, Wright certainly succeeded – especially when you consider that the letter “E” is used five times more often than any other letter in the English language.
Of course, challenging the norms and throwing away centuries of lingual evolution are two separate issues… but I won’t get into that today. (Hey, but that’s a rant you can look forward to later!)
I’ve never met anyone who has read the story, so my reading challenge to you is to check it out for yourself. It’s a quick read and available online.