Sturrock on Queneau

[Queneau] was a great reader and a great maker of lists, given from childhood on to the pleasures of tabulation. In January 1945, a month like any other, he records having read thirty-three books in thirty-one days, on literature, history, art, mathematics, physics, travel, plants and other subjects besides. There was more to this gluttonous programme, however, than the replenishment of an unusually encyclopaedic mind, for in the objectivity that reading demanded he looked to find relief from the anxious self-concern that otherwise afflicted him. There was, as he recognized, a strong, and uncomfortable, element of willed mental distraction in this piling up of impersonal knowledge.

»John Sturrock on Raymond Queneau in The Word From Paris : Essays on Modern French Thinkers and Writers. London: Verso, 1998.