- Which Moped with Chrome-plated Handlebars at the Back of the Yard?
name = Which Moped with Chrome-plated Handlebars at the Back of the Yard?
title_orig = Quel petit vélo à guidon chromé au fond de la cour?
language = French
publisher = Les Lettres Nouvelles
pub_date = 1966
preceded_by = Things: A Story of the Sixties
followed_by = A Man Asleep
"Which Moped with Chrome-plated Handlebars at the Back of the Yard?" is a comic
novellaby Georges Perec. Perec's second published work, it was originally published in 1966 in French as "Quel petit vélo à guidon chromé au fond de la cour?" [cite book |title=Quel petit vélo à guidon chromé au fond de la cour? |author= Georges Perec|publisher=Les Lettres Nouvelles, Paris |year=1966] The English translation by Ian Monkwas published in "Three by Perec" in 2004.citation |title=Three by Perec |contribution=Which Moped with Chrome-plated Handlebars at the Back of the Yard? |author=Georges Perec |author2= trans. Ian Monk|publisher= David R. Godine|year=2004 |isbn=1567922546] The "Review of Contemporary Fiction" called Monk's translation "gorgeous and eloquent". [cite journal |title=Georges Perec. Three by Perec |author=Jeremy M. Davies |date=Fall 2005 |journal=The Review of Contemporary Fiction |volume=25 |issue=3 |pages=p 147]
The book is the story of the efforts of a French Sergeant, Henri Pollak, and his friends to rescue a fellow soldier from being sent overseas to fight in the
Algerian War of Independence. It is written in a rambunctiously comic style, with an exaggerated use of rhetorical devices and a mix of registers, a style inspired by Raymond Queneauand popularized in " Zazie in the Metro", and by rhetoric lessons Perec was taking from Roland Barthes.cite book |title= |author= David Bellos|publisher=David R. Godine |year=1993 |pages=pp 306-309, 328 |isbn=0879239808] Common rules of grammar and spelling are frequently broken, and even basic conventions such as the consistency of character's names are flouted for humorous effect.citation |contribution=Introduction to "Which Moped..." |title=Three by Perec |author=David Bellos |publisher=David R. Godine |year=2004 |pages=5-7 |isbn=1567922546] The book includes an index of "ornamentations and flowers of rhetoric" used in the text, from abstract(pg 20) to psittacism("assuredly"), and including anadiplosis, epistrophe, and metalepsis. Many of the characters and scenes, including the moped-riding protagonist, were based on real-life friends of Perec.
"Which Moped..." was published shortly after Perec received the
Renaudot Prizefor his debut novel "", but it did not meet with the same widespread critical success. Its farcical tone was in contrast to the controlled classical writing and criticism of consumer society found in "Things", and it received little notice in the press, although the few reviews that were published (by "Les Echos" and " Le Figaro", among others) were favorable.
Perec dedicated the book to "Lg", an abbreviation for
La Ligne générale(after " The General Line", a film by Sergei Eisenstein), a group of French literary intellectuals who provided Perec with his first family of friends and second education, and of which Perec was a leading member prior to his involvement in Oulipo.
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