Writing a novel is already a difficult task in itself. But things get complicated if you decide not to use a vowel …
In 1936, the writer Ernest Vincent Wright He set himself a challenge: Write a novel without using the letter E. In just 6 months he wrote the short novel Gadsby, 50,000 words that do not have the letter E.
Ernest Vincent Wright’s idea came about when he discovered that the letter E is the most used in English, and in novels it appears 5 times more than any other letter. The same thing happens in Spanish, and in almost all languages derived from Latin.
To avoid temptation, and so that no E’s slips through it inadvertently, Ernest Vincent Wright removed the letter E from his typewriter.
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When writing in English, the greatest difficulty was avoid regular verbs in the past, ending in -ed. Also the word the (el or la).
Gadsby is a lipogram: a text that intentionally does not use any letter of the alphabet.
The book tells the story of a dying city called Branton Hills, which a dreamer named John Gadsby tries to pull off.
Ernest finished the book in 1937, but nobody wanted to publish it. So in 1939 he self-published himself, paying for the edition out of pocket.
Unfortunately, two tragedies prevented his work from being known. A fire in the printing house burned most of the copies that were already in print, and within two months Ernest Vincent Wright died at the age of 67.
Describing the future, broadly speaking, is relatively straightforward. Doing it with pinpoint precision has some magic. These books anticipated what would happen decades, even centuries later, as if their authors had traveled through time.
Gadsby it was almost forgotten, but the few specimens that were saved from the fire became a curiosity, and today they are highly valued. They have been paid up to $ 5,000 for one of them.
If you are curious, Gadsby It is for sale on Amazon, both in print and in ebook format for less than 1 euro.
In Spanish there are also a few books in lipogram form. One of the best known is Las Vocales Malditas, by the Mexican writer Óscar de la Borbolla. There are five stories, each of them written using only one of the vowels.