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Gadsby Paperback – November 29, 2014

3.1 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ernest Vincent Wright (1872 – October 7, 1939) was an American author known for his book "Gadsby", a 50,000-word novel which, except for the introduction and a note at the end, did not use the letter "e".
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1505260108
  • ISBN-13: 978-1505260106
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gadsby is a triumph of circumlocution. Its author has wrought a story (and not a short story, but a fifty-thousand word-long yarn) in which that most common atom of any word is strictly out of play. Wright actually had to jam a button on his typing apparatus to avoid slipping up and using this ubiquitous symbol. His work stands as a glory to man's spirit, that spirit that looks for difficult things to do simply for fun or satisfaction. Isn't that why folk climb mountains, nations shoot astronauts into orbit, and many try to finish Prousts's most famous work?

But what of Wright's story, in its own right? It's a bit of an oddity, not much akin to your standard thrilling horror or action romp. It's about a bustling and philanthropic chap of "about fifty", Gadsby, who hits on a plan to "doll up" his snoozy town, Branton Hills, through co-opting its kids skills and "oomph". It all has a boy-scoutish air about it. Gadsby (who is soon mayor of Branton Hills) again and again draws cash from his town's rich to fund his various plans: a zoo, a radio station, a night-school, a library and what our author must call "a film-show" to maintain his "odd yarn's strict orthography". (Is Gadsby a sly satirical spoof of socialism and rampant municipal output, a cryptic dig at FDR and his ilk? Who knows?)

I didn't mind Gadsby's almost total lack of risk, hazard or conflict. Art, it is always said, should know no dogma. But how many fictions can do without animosity, fighting, iniquity, pain, agony, fatality? Why can our yarns not focus on happy and normal things, on ordinary triumphs and small stumbling blocks? That, and not Gadsby's "strict orthography", may stand as its signal triumph.

But mayhap you think such a book must grow boring, as soon as its gimmick stops amusing.
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Format: Paperback
This review refers *only* to the Ramble House / Fender Tucker edition, 2005/6.

I bought this edition from the publisher (Ramble House / Fender Tucker) in May 2006. I compared it carefully with my copy of the original edition (1939). I was disappointed to find HUNDREDS OF ERRORS in the Ramble House edition -- including some real howlers like "Smiting" (page 164) for "Smiling" (in the original, page 252).

On the whole it appears that this edition (Ramble House / Fender Tucker) was printed from a defective e-text made from a fuzzy photocopy of the original edition. And since there are already a number of defective e-texts on line, it's hard to see why we need one in print.
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By A Customer on July 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After hearing about this book, for years I was intrigued as to how anyone could possibly write a page, much less a book, without the letter "e". Finally I found a copy (in the rare book room of New York City's main library!) and by jove, the man did it! (As the reviewer below notes, the introduction does include the letter e - which the author humoursly notes might be cheating the whole enterprise. He also tells us the e's, after gathering around but never getting to enter the pages, sulk off cyring back something like "that's a fine yarn you'll have without *us* arround!"). I only had time to read a bit of the book before the library closed, but it seemed a fun young adult-type book written by a warm man who had a stroke of genius. Hats off and get this thing back in print!
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By A Customer on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have actually read this book. It tells the story of the youth of a small town, and the many projects they take on, such as building a zoo, etc. It gets pretty slow in spots, but I thought it was fun to read just because of the lack of the letter 'e'. The introduction says that the author tied the 'e' key of his typewriter down so as not use use it by mistake.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I learned of this book and this type of writing exercises from a daily trivia entry on my PC. In doing more research, I found the whole concept intriguing. As a writer I respond to writing prompts to help get creative ideas flowing. This type of exercise seemed extreme to say the least. There are many more examples of this "restrictive" writing but I think this may have been one of the first major works published. I have included a poem I wrote to commemorate this great literary work.

GADSBY

There's a great old book called Gadsby
that you really have to see

The entire book was written
without a letter "E"

Written as a lipogram
a writing exercise

50,000 words
and it should have won a prize

It hardly got a mention
back in nineteen thirty nine

The author died soon after
with scarcely a history line

In our english language
letter "E" is the most used

How to write this book then
would have me quite confused

You can't use "one"or "three" or "five"
and "seven through ten" taboo

No "Mr." or "Mrs.
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