An 1842 compendium of literary curiosities assembled by bibliophile Gabriel Peignot presents a collection of works and rules for their composition that has interesting correlations with electronic, computational, and digital productions of poetic works. Because these works were written under constraint, their rule-bound approach has an algorithmic character that can be compared with the compositional tactics used in computational work. This paper analyzes Peignot’s collection in terms slightly different from those on which he organized his compendium. Rather than sort the works in a typology of formal properties, this paper presents a typology of production methods and compositional techniques. Though not all electronic approaches are anticipated by the works collected in Peignot’s remarkable work, the range and variety of these methods, many of which reach into antiquity, establishes a long lineage for conventions of rule-based poetic composition.
composition, algorithmic techniques, electronic poetry, macaronic verse, combinatorics
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MORGAN, James Appleton (1872). Macaronic Poetry. New York: Hurd and Houghton, and Cambridge: Riverside Press.
PECK, Harry Thurston (1897). Harper’s Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities, Vol. 1. New York: Harper and Brothers.
PEIGNOT, Gabriel (1842). Amusements Philologiques. Dijon: Victor Lagier.
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