Paul Fournel

On: September 28, 2006
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About Jeff van Schie
Founder and managing director of Fix Nieuwe Media BV. Became an official Master of New Media in Octobre 2007.


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Paul Fournel, who joined the Oulipo at Queneau’s invitation in 1971, is currently the group’s president, as well as the “provisionally definitive secretary.” (The “definitively provisional secretary,” Marcel Bénabou, was not in attendance.) Fournel fits more easily than Mathews into the mold of the literary jester—always smiling while pretending to fight off that smile, tongue often quite literally in his cheek. He often answered questions from the audience with pseudo-aphorisms, the most memorable of which was, “Oulipo ends where the work begins.” When asked during the opening reading how one becomes a member of the group, he responded like a Skull and Bonesman, “If you don’t want to be a member, just ask to be let in.” Fournel was a visiting professor at Princeton for the semester, and the mutual affection between him and his students was obvious throughout the weekend.


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