Whatâ€™s a lipogram, you ask? If you guessed that a lipogram is a letter full of fat, you would be wrong. If you guessed that a lipogram is a fat-measuring unit, you would wrong again. Fear not, for I am about to tell you what a lipogram is.
A lipogram is â€œa text that purposefully excludes a particular letter of the alphabet.â€**
Ernest Vincent Wright, in 1939, created a 50,000-word story, entitled Gadsby, without once using the letter â€œEâ€. In order to ensure he would not inadvertently use the letter â€œEâ€ in a word while creating the manuscript, the author tied down the letter â€œEâ€ on a manual typewriter.
Some of the more interesting composition challenges he noted were: the inability to use many, if not most, of the past tenses of verbs to the extent that they end with â€œâ€”ed,â€ and the unavailability of numbers between six and thirty. Pronouns also posed a problem â€œfor such words as he, she, they, them, theirs, her, herself, myself, himself, yourself, etc., could not be utilized.â€
Wright also pointed out that he did not accomplish this feat simply by dropping the â€œEâ€™sâ€ and replacing them with apostrophes. He stated, â€œAll words used are complete; are correctly spelled and properly used. This has been accomplished through the use of synonyms; and, by so twisting a sentence around as to avoid ambiguity.â€
The project took five and a half months.
So, letâ€™s seeâ€¦..
This group of words is my dumb stab at forming a basic lipogram, much as Wright did in authoring his fifty-thousand word story known as Gadsby. It ainâ€™t easy! I cannot imagine writing an entire story like that, much less a 50,000 word story.
Clearly, the question is why would someone bust his ass for five and a half months to create such a thing?
Beats me. I donâ€™t know.
**One has to wonder whether those zany Clinton staffers who removed all the â€œWâ€ keys from the computer keyboards in the White House prior to the Bushâ€™s moving in were merely fostering the creation of Presidential lipograms.
Thanks to The Presurfer for posting the Gadsby link and getting me to think about yet another goofy thing.