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alphabet

Literature and letters (II)

Some time ago I wrote about VS Naipaul and his interest in sign writing. Now here’s a piece by Georges Perec about the letter X, taken from his novel W – that’s double v. (This is the English translation, naturally, of 1988 by David Bellos.)

‘My memory is not a memory of the scene, but a memory of the word, only a memory of the letter that has turned into a word, of that noun which is unique in the language in being made of a single letter, unique also in being the only one to have the same shape as the thing it refers to (the draftsman’s T-square is called a Te in French, pronounced like the letter it resembles, but its name is not written “t”), but it is also the sign of a word deleted (the string of x’s crossing out the word you didn’t mean to write), the contrastive sign of ablation (as in neurophysiology…), the sign of mulitiplication and of sorting (the x-axis), the sign of the mathematical unknown….’ (p.77 from the CollinsHarvill hardback edition).

And so it goes on. The drawing does not appear in the novel – it is my own.