If youth, throughout all history, 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." A child's brain starts functioning at birth; and has, amongst its many infant convolutions, thousands of dormant atoms, into which God has put a mystic possibility for noticing an adult's act, and figuring out its purport.|||Gadsby, first paragraph
An anonymous narrator, who continuously complains autologically about his own poor writing and circumlocution, is actually Wright, a Californian from Boston. This is shown by implication from his allusion to Wright's nonlipogrammatic introduction:
(Now, naturally, in writing such a story as this, with its conditions as laid down in its Introduction, it is not surprising that an occasional "rough spot" in composition is found. So I trust that a critical public will hold constantly in mind that I am voluntarily avoiding words containing that symbol which is, by far, of most common inclusion in writing our Anglo-Saxon as it is, today. Many of our most common words cannot show; so I must adopt synonyms; and so twist a thought around as to say what I wish with as much clarity as I can.) So, now to go on with this odd contraption ....|||Gadsby, part 2
Wright calls it a story of thrill, rollicking, courtship, patriotism, a stand against liquor, and amusing political aspirations in a small growing town (Gadsby, introduction). Its tacit chronology starts around aught-six, passing through First World War days and continuing up into Prohibition and Harding's administration.
Notwithstanding this artistic constraint, Wright's narration is fully grammatical and lucid. His introduction holds that his primary difficulty was avoiding typical suffixation for past actions; ablauts, modal auxiliary forms, and a short list of participials accomplish that function in Gadsby. Scarcity of vocabulary also drastically limits discussion of quantity, and availability of pronouns and many common words (Book of Lists); Wright dryly broods about his inability to count anything from six to thirty (Gadsby, introduction). Word Ways, a linguistics journal, said that Wright's vocabulary could contain fully half of W. Francis's Brown Corpus, a computational analysis that lists common words; a lipogram with tight constraints, by comparison, could allow only a sixth of such a list (Al Ross, Jr.).
At upwards of fifty thousand words, Wright's book allows short forms of words on occasion, but, as its introduction points out, only if a full form is similarly lipogrammatic, such as with "Dr.", "P.S.", and "T.N.T." (trinitrotoluol). This standard holds for common contractions, including "ain't" (is not), "atta" (that a), and "dunno" (do not know); and for substandard forms by an Irishwoman ("shmokin'" for "smoking"), an Italian ("buncha" for "bunch of"), and a young vagrant ("brung" for "brought"). Wright's subvocabulary also contains such long words as "congratulations", "dissatisfaction", "hospitalization", "inconspicuosity", "orthographically", "philanthropists", "philosophically", and "straightforward". Wright turns famous sayings into lipogrammatic forms, such as "Music truly hath charms to calm a wild bosom", and "A charming thing is a joy always" (Park 2002).
Wright, a past naval musician, put Gadsby: Champion of Youth into writing during six months at a California military nursing facility, and took thirty months locating a publishing firm. Finally choosing vanity publication, Wright saw his manuscript into its first run of author drafts. Rumors of his dying within hours of his book's publication lack much support, as a print copy is known with an August inscription, two months prior to Wright's passing away (Oddballiana).
Gadsby was Wright's fourth and final book (Park 2002). A majority of its original printing run was lost in a downtown printing-plant conflagration (also killing a companyman); a public library microform's proof copy informs most printings today (Amazon.com softback). Accordingly, a first printing hardback can still command up to four thousand dollars (Oddballiana).
La Disparition is a similar Francophonic lipogram book (in translation as A Void, by Scottish author Gil Adair, and A Vanishing, by Ian Monk). Its original author saw Wright's book via Oulipo, a multinational wordplay organization (Abish). "Possibly in honour of Gadsby it was also 50,000 words" (Oddballiana). Oulipo's publication of this work "was taking a risk" of finishing up "with nothing [but] a Gadsby", that is, a book of no fascination to critics (In Words). As a nod to Wright, La Disparation contains an Oxford don and Auctor Honoris Causa known as "Lord Gadsby V. Wright" (Sturrock), a "grand anglais savant" and tutor to protagonist Anton Voyl, or Vowl; a composition of Voyl's is actually a quotation from Gadsby (Park 2002). In addition to La Disparition, aspiring lipogrammatists still point to Gadsby as an inspiration today (Kitson 2006). A thick work by Basic Books, about Marot and linguistic music, contains significant parts of Gadsby, for illustration; its author, writing "occasionally lipogrammatically", also now has a thousand-word "autolipography", or lipogrammatic autobiography, put into publication by Stanford (Douglas Richard).
Wright's magnum opus is found in citations by David Kahn's classic history of cryptography, by 'pataphysicians (Oddballiana) such as Christian Bök, and by Book of Lists, a trivia standard. David Crystal, host of a BBC Radio 4 linguistics program, finds Gadsby comparing favorably to "Cat in a Hat" (Crystal) and calls it a "most ambitious work", painting a social portrait contrasting starkly with that of its famous inspirations, Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan (Crystal and McLachlan).
RECYCLING ROUGH SPOT; Prices for paper, metals and plastic have plummeted, forcing recycling firms to make adjustments to weather the market.(NEWS)
Dec 14, 2008; Byline: TOM MEERSMAN; STAFF WRITER CORRECTION PUBLISHED 12/21/08: This story about recycling incorrectly identified a University...