Words are the prisoners of the alphabet. Words are as dependent on the letterforms and combinations of the alphabet as the prisoner is dependent on his jailer. The Surrealists’ attempts to escape this prison range from Aragon’s Suicide, 1924, a 26-letter poem, to Magritte’s n’est pas. Later, there is Perec’s feat of producing a novel without the letter ‘e’, the alphabet’s most visible letter, La Disparition, 1969. For Broodthaers, Mallarme held the key.