This French author of treatises on mathematics and other scholarly works has made his reputation writing comic novels. Raymond Queneau (through one of his characters) once defined humor as "an attempt to purge lofty feelings of all the baloney." Roger Shattuck interprets his philosophy: "Life is of course absurd and it is ludicrous to take it seriously; only the comic is serious." Life is so serious to Queneau that only laughter makes it bearable. He has written a play, screenplays, poetry, numerous articles, and many novels, the first of which, Le Chiendent (The Bark Tree), was published in 1933. In Exercises in Style (1947) he tells a simple anecdote 99 different ways. According to some critics, The Blue Flowers (1965) represents Queneau at his best. Its jokes, puns, double-entendres, deceptions, wild events, tricky correspondences, and bawdy language make it a feast of comic riches. The influence of Charlie Chaplin, as well as James Joyce is detectable in Queneau's fiction.
Gilbert Adair was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on December 29, 1944. He wrote numerous books during his lifetime including A Night at the Pictures, Myths and Memories, Hollywood's Vietnam, Flickers, and Surfing the Zeitgeist. His novels, Love and Death on Long Island and The Dreamers, were adapted into films, the later by Adair himself. He also helped write the screenplays The Territory, Klimt, and A Closed Book. He won the Author's Club First Novel Award for The Holy Innocents in 1988 and the Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize for his book A Void in 1995. During the 1990s, he wrote a regular column for the Sunday Times. He died in early December 2011at the age of 66.