François Le Lionnais

1901 (Paris) – 1984 (Paris)

He met Duchamp and Roussel through his chess obsession, and founded a science-writers’ group with de Broglie. Queneau and he were both pataphysicians, and formed Oulipo initially as a spin-off. Berge, Arnaud, Roubaud, Perec and Bénabou all became Oulipians. The last three were initially shocked at what the infirm Le Lionnais charged them for round-table dinners, but grew warmer, Perec spending several days dusting and sorting his books. He sniffed out Freymann, who published books on aspects of mathematics and other interesting subjects that no-one else would, and introduced Queneau to him.