Black Dust: Raymond Queneau and The Encyclopedia of the Inexact Sciences

McAuliffe, Sam. 2019. Black Dust: Raymond Queneau and The Encyclopedia of the Inexact Sciences. Paragraph, 42(2), pp. 154-169. ISSN 0264-8334 [Article]

McAuliffe, Black Dust, Raymond Queneau, Paragraph.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (195kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

The Encyclopedia of Inexact Sciences brings together Raymond Queneau’s expansive research into a uniquely peculiar canon of nineteenth century works, authored by what he variously refers to as a “literary lunatic” (fou littéraire) or a “heteroclite.” The work of this figure is discernible less by its subject matter than the singular nature of the discursive position it speaks from: not only does it have no precedent, having broken with all that comes before it, so atypical is its standing with respect to the standards of its given field it remains un-received and un-receivable. Hence the formative principle of The Encyclopedia: “A ‘fou littéraire’ has neither masters nor disciples.” The body of discourse it gives rise to is drawn upon to more than one end across Queneau’s oeuvre, but nowhere more ambitiously than in his novel The Children of Clay, where it becomes a device for examining the conventions and conditions underwriting literary experience itself.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Additional Information:

'This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Edinburgh University Press in Paragraph. The Version of Record is available online at:'


Queneau, Derrida, Foucault, Paulhan, Literature, Madness, fou littéraire

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


31 January 2019Accepted
June 2019Published Online
July 2019Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

27 Jun 2019 08:26

Last Modified:

28 Jun 2019 15:28

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)