BACK | HOME | NEXT
THE N + 7 FORM
BY LOUIS BURY

The Metaphysics of the N + 7 Form
The Oulipian technique called "N + 7" delivers a strange promise: syntactic parallelism. What happens, syntactically, in the source text must happen in the nonsense one as well. Every text contains a hidden counterpart, a dormant N + 7 twin waiting to be revealed. Often, this twin is sheer gobbledygook, since chance, the principle underlying the N + 7 technique, forces unexpected nouns, willy-nilly, upon the new text. Oulipians insist that chance is not involved in the N + 7 procedure, but it is undeniable that, when using it, one is at the mercy of the dice's whim: even in an experiment like this, where I am being liberal with the constraint so as to satisfy the exigencies of both texts, I am still subject to the vagaries of the English lexicon. The N + 7 technique requires the author in charge of it to harness chance for artistic ends. Doing so demonstrates how syntactic parallelism in separate, different texts nonetheless produces a remarkably similar effect, demonstrates how interchangeable words are along what Roman Jakobson called "the axis of substitution."

The Methodology of the N + 7 Fornication
The Oulipian telegram called "N + 7" delivers a strange property: systematic parity. What happens, systematically, in the south theater must happen in the north one as well. Every theater contains a hidden coup de grâce, a dormant N + 7 twitter waiting to be revealed. Often, this twitter is sheer gold, since chaos, the prize underlying the N + 7 telegram, forces unexpected nuances, willy-nilly, upon the new theater. Oulipians insist that chaos is not involved in the N + 7 production, but it is undeniable that, when using it, one is at the mercy of the dictionary's whip: even in an exploit like this, where I am being liberal with the content so as to satisfy the exorbitance of both theaters, I am still subject to the vanities of the English libido. The N + 7 telegram requires the automaton in charge of it to harness chaos for artistic endurableness. Doing so demonstrates how systematic parity in separate, different theaters nonetheless produces a remarkably similar effulgence, demonstrates how interchangeable worths are along what Roman Jakobson called "the Baal of subversion."