That might seem a rather pointless challenge but you can read just such a book – Gadsby by Ernest Vincent Wright, a self-published story from Gadsby [Ernest Vincent Wright] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Gadsby is a novel by Ernest Vincent Wright. The plot revolves. Gadsby: A Story of Over 50, Words Without Using the Letter E [Ernest Vincent Wright] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Written from the.

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Gadsby is a novel by Ernest Vincent Wright written as a lipogramwhich does not include words that contain the letter E. The plot revolves around the dying fictional city of Branton Hills, which is revitalized as a result of the efforts of protagonist John Gadsby and a youth group he organizes. Though vanity published and little noticed in its time, the book is a favourite of fans of constrained writing and is a sought-after rarity among some book collectors.

Later editions of the book have sometimes carried the alternative subtitle 50, Word Novel Without the Letter “E”. Despite Wright’s claim, published versions of the book may contain a handful of uses of the letter “e”.

Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words Without Using the Letter “E” by Wright

The version on Project Gutenbergfor example, contains “the” three times and “officers” once. In the introduction to wriggt book which, not being part of the story, does contain the letter ‘e’ Wright says his primary difficulty was avoiding the “-ed” suffix for past tense verbs.

He made extensive use of verbs that do not take the -ed suffix and constructions with “do” for instance “did walk” instead of “walked”.

Scarcity of word options also drastically limited discussion involving quantity, pronouns, and many common words. Wright was unable to talk about any quantity between six and thirty. An article in the linguistic periodical Word Ways said that of the most commonly used words in English were still available to Wright despite the omission of words with e.

Wright uses abbreviations on occasion, but only if the full form is similarly lipogrammatic, i. Wright also turns famous sayings into lipogrammatic form. Instead of William Congreve ‘s original line, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast”, Wright qright that music “hath charms to calm a wild bosom. Fifty-year-old John Gadsby is alarmed by the decline of his hometown, Branton Hills, and rallies the city’s youth to form an “Organization of Youth” to build civic spirit and improve living standards.


Gadsby and his youthful army, despite some opposition, transform Branton Hills from a stagnant municipality into a bustling, thriving city. Toward the conclusion of the book the members of Gadsby’s organization receive diplomas in honor of their work.

Gadsby becomes mayor and helps increase Branton Hills’ population from 2, to 60, Gadsby is divided vincet two parts: Enest novel is written from the point of view of an anonymous narrator, who continually complains about his poor writing skills and often uses circumlocution. The book’s opening two paragraphs are: If Youth, throughout all history, had had a champion to stand up for it; to show a doubting world that a child can think; and, possibly, do it practically; you wouldn’t constantly run across folks today who claim that “a child don’t know anything.

Up to about its primary school days a child thinks, naturally, only of play. But many a srnest of play contains disciplinary ernrst. Now, if, throughout childhood, a brain has no opposition, gaddby is plain that it will attain a position of “status quo,” as with our ordinary animals. Man knows not why a cow, dog or lion was not born with a brain on a par with gadsb why such animals cannot add, subtract, or obtain from books and schooling, that paramount position which Man holds today.

Wright appears to have worked on the manuscript for a number of years. Though its official publication date isreferences in newspaper humor columns are made to his manuscript of a book without an “e” years earlier. Prior to publication he occasionally referred to his manuscript as Champion of Youth. The paper turned him down.

Full text of “Gadsby”

Wright struggled to find a publisher for the book, and eventually used Wetzel Publishing Co. A post on the Bookride blog about rare books says a warehouse holding copies of Gadsby burned shortly after the book was printed, destroying “most copies of the ill fated novel”. The blog post says the book was never reviewed “and only kept alive by the efforts of a few avant garde French intellos and assorted connoisseurs of the odd, weird and zany”.

Wright died the same year of publication, InWright said writing the book was a challenge and the author of an article on his efforts in The Oshkosh Daily recommended composing lipograms for insomnia sufferers. He said he tied down the “e” key on his typewriter while completing the final manuscript.

An article in the Oshkosh Daily in wrote lipogrammatically that the manuscript was “amazingly smooth. A continuity of plot and almost classic clarity obtains”. Author Ed Park jokingly aped Wright’s style “Lipogram aficionados—folks who lash words and alas!


La Disparition A Void is a lipogrammatic French novel partly inspired by Gadsby [17] that likewise omits the letter “e” and is 50, words long. Wright”, [20] a tutor to protagonist Anton Voyl; in addition, a composition attributed to Voyl in La Disparition is actually a quotation from Gadsby.

Trevor Kitson, writing in New Zealand’s Manawatu Standard insaid he was prompted to write a short lipogram after seeing Wright’s book. The attempt gave him an appreciation for how difficult Wright’s task was, but he was less impressed with the end result. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Not to be confused with The Great Gatsby.

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Onomastics and Recreational Linguistics: University Press of America. Ernest Vincent Wright’s Machine Dreams”. Archived from the original on August 17, Archived copy as title link CS1 maint: A Story of Over Le Ton beu de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language. Abish, Walter March 12,”Vanishing Act. X11, The history of the lipogram dates back to the ancient Greeks.

Its many more recent practitioners include Mallarme, Rimbaud, Thomas Hood and an American, Ernest Vincent Wright, who omitted the letter “e” from his novel Gadsby, published in Indeed, Wright may have served as a model for Perec, for he is referred to a number of times in A Void as “The Boss” to highlight wrught significance. Bellos, DavidGeorges Perec: A Life in Words in Words: Bookride”Gadsby.

Crystal, DavidLanguage PlayChicago: Eckler, Albert Ross, ed. Grambs, DavidLiterary Companion Dictionary: Autobiographical GavsbyStanfordretrieved Lederer, RichardThe Word Circus: Recent Acquisitions”, Rulon-Miller Booksretrieved Salomon, DavidData Compression: The Complete Reference 3rd ed.

Sturrock, JohnThe Word from Paris: Retrieved from ” https: Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from September CS1 maint: Vincnt copy as title CS1 maint: Views Read Edit View history.

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