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One of our favorite games.

"Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau."

- some folks who knew André Breton

Exquisite corpse is a game originally played by European surrealists in the early part of this century. There are written and pictoral forms of this game, but both involve the same principle: that the players each make a contribution to the whole without having knowledge of any of the other players' contributions. The book Surrealist games (see our Bibliography) explains that the first sentence created by Surrealists playing this game was

The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine.

Except that they wrote it in French (see the quote, above). The written form of Exquisite Corpse requires an initial agreement about sentence structure. The structure we used for our Seldom Asked Questions is as follows, with each player contributing one step, covering up what she has written, and then passing the paper on to the next player:

The pictoral form of Exquisite Corpse follows a similar method, only of course the goal is to form a picture rather than a sentence or text. This is fairly common childrens' game, generally used to draw monsters or other grotesque creatures (when I was a little girl I used to play it with my mother and brother - we called it The Monster Game). One method for three players is as follows:

Each player folds the paper after finishing the drawing, hiding it from the next player. Usually a the picture extends past the fold just a little bit so that the next player's drawing will join with the first player's.

When all the pieces of the game have been drawn or written, the last step is to read the sentences or show the pictures. This is the best part.

-- written by Emily-Jane Dawson, 1997

Other Exquisite Corpses can be found at the following websites:

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