On Cadavre

  • 16.05.2002: The idea of Cadavre and the first implementation in JavaScript (on www.pseudointellektuelle.de).


Absolutely. Exactly. Exactly the name French surrealists gave to the game they used to play in the twenties: Cadavre Exquis.

But what?..

Didn't you ever play it? Well, here comes the description. Take some players - about ten should do nicely. Each one takes a sheet of paper and writes down the time of action. Then every paper is folded so that the text cannot be seen, and passed around clockwise (if the surrealists felt especially daring, they could even change to counter-clockwise mode). Now, every player writes down a place, and again the sheets are folded, and again they are passed on. The procedure goes on until every sheet contains a full story, no two parts of which are written by the same author. Now the stories are read out loudly, and there is general amusement.

But how?..

In more or less the same way. The data base of the Cadavre contains about 130 words and phrases in nine different categories. A randomizer constitutes the most important part of the Cadavre, while a few selected rules of the English language try to make themself noticed from time to time. Even with grammatical and content-related constrains in mind, the number of possible stories still exceeds a milliard for a British reader, while being well over a billion for Americans.

But who?..

The Cadavre was created by your humble servant. The idea came from Alexandra, who, in her turn, found inspiration in a text by Umberto Eco.

If you have suggestions, complaints or just something on your mind, don't hesitate to contact me. You'll find the neccessary information at the end of this page.

Legal notes

I have created this site investing a certain amount of effort. This gives me the possibility to set the rules for its usage.

You can use stories produced by the Cadavre in digital form and for non-commercial purposes. Please don't forget to mention that the stories are not the result of your labours, but of the Cadavre's.

For usage in any other form and for any other purpose you need my written permission. If you are not sure if you need it - ask me.

You are welcome to link to the Cadavre (the best way is to link to the start page - http://www.telling-stories.net). More than that - you'll make me quite happy by doing so. I'd be glad to learn of the links placed to this site. You can find my contact information further down on this page.

I spare no pains checking the content of the sites I link to. Still, I cannot influence the content of external sites, and, consecuentially, assume any responsibility for it. If you are of the opinion that Cadavre hurts your rights, your feelings, or you karma - inform me, and I'l leap into action to remove the slightest causes for your unhappiness.


It is ludicrously easy to contact me. Just visit the Contact page.

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