Michel Leiris

Michel Leiris (* 20. April 1901 in Paris; † 30. September 1990) was a French writer and Ethnologe.

Table of contents


the Leiris, whose literary inclination steps already early to light, originating from the French education middle class, is forced by its family against its will to a study of chemistry. It wins nevertheless in the time after the First World War connection to the avantgardisitschen artist circles of the epoch, in particular to the Surrealismus; rapidly it gets used to itself with max of Jacob, André Masson, Picasso and other one. This connection holds in the year 1929, according to which it leaves the group, in order to attain larger artistic independence. Only with André Masson, which he had know-learned in this time, connects it a lifelong friendship.

Leiris begins a study of the Ethnologie and wins contact to Georges Bataille, for whose magazine he engages himself documents editorialally. Together with Bataille, Roger Caillois and Jules Monnerot he creates the religion-scientifically inspired “Collège de Sociologie “. From 1931 to 1933 it goes on a research mission “Dakar Djibouti” under the direction of Marcel Griaule, a colleague of the documents. With its return he writes longer treatise over its experiences (L'Afrique fantôme), that the tropical journey for the mode of mental release representative - a category, which had already prepared Paul Nizans Aden Arabie considerably. The monumental travel diary Leiris' uses the research techniques of the Ethnographie, in order to apply it to its own everyday life and the experiences on its journey. The publication of this text leads to the break between Leiris and Marcel Griaule.

From 1929 to 1935 it submits to a psychoanalytischen therapy under Adrien Borel, in whose process it recognizes the necessity for an intimate autobiography as a condition for a healing success - the basis of L'Âge d'Homme (dt. Man age), the 1939 appears and a continuation in La Règle you to Jeu (dt. The rule) finds, whose four volumes between 1948 and 1976 appear. 1957 it becomes member of the institute for Pataphysik. Novellas follow and poems.

It can force its ethnologische career after the Dakar Djibouti journey and becomes a researcher at the again-created Musée de l'Homme. After 1945 it brings closer to the Sartre Existenzialismus on and becomes initial member of the magazine Les Temps modern. Together with Alioune Diop, Aimé Césaire and Georges Balandier he in addition 1945 create the Présence Africaine. As a sharp opponent of the colonialism he becomes co-signatory in France famous communist manifesto of the 121. To its more important ethnologischen works a study belongs over the property term in northern Ethiopia, which it analyzes from a Sartre perspective.

Leiris is a nephew of Raymond Roussel.


in Germany is Leiris particularly by its auto+biographic novel man age (1939) admits become. Techniques of its surrealistischen Lehrjahre, psychoanalytische self questioning and a ethnologisches equipment directed toward the interpretation of the own life redefined the category of the autobiography. The book is retrospectively laid out thereby: the 34jährige, mentally like physically smashed I storytellers strives for the supportless reconstruction of the earlychildlike sources of his psychological and sexual Obsessionen. That the work since 1946 usually pre-aged essay La littérature considerée comme une tauromachie (literature as Stierkampf) justifies this: the complete exhibitionistische self relinquishment transforms the writer into a Torero, which goads the monströsen bull on (own the branch rose I), in order to defeat it. Purpose is not so much the nostalgic recuperation of a lost past (Proust), when rather the questioning of the own biographic identity, which, compound from deep-structural neuroses, must be produced linguistic self reference and clouded, only punctual memory fragments, on constantly new way speculatively.


of works

  • 1925 - Simulacre
  • 1927 - Le POINT Cardinal
  • 1934 - L'Afrique Fantôme (dt.: Phantom Africa 1980)
  • 1936 - the Nereide of the Red Sea (dt. 1980)
  • 1939 - L'Age d'Homme (dt. Man age 1975)
  • 1943 - skin mark
  • 1946 - Aurora (dt. Aurora 1979)
  • 1948 - Biffures - La Règle you Jeu I (the rule, 4 Bde. dt. starting from 1982)
  • 1955 - Fourbis - La Règle you Jeu II
  • 1958 - La pos session et ses aspects théatraux chez les Éthipien you Gondar
  • 1961 - Nuits sans nuits et quelques jours sans jour
  • 1964 - Grande fuite de slope
  • 1966 - Fibrilles - La Règle you Jeu III
  • 1967 - Afrique Noire: la Création Plastique (together with Jacqueline Delange)
  • 1969 - Cinq études d'ethnologie
  • 1969 - Mots sans Mémoire (a Anthologie of lyric texts)
  • 1971 - André Masson, “measure acre” et autres dessins
  • 1974 - Francis Bacon ou la vérité criante
  • 1976 - Frêle Bruit - La Règle you Jeu IV
  • 1978 - Alberto Giacometti
  • 1980 - outer one verso the image
  • 1981 - Le Ruban outer Cou de l'Olympia - (dt. The volume at the neck of the Olympia 1983)
  • 1981 - the eye of the Ethnographen
  • 1985 - Langage tangage
  • 1987 - Francis Bacon
  • 1988 - A cor et à cri
  • 1989 - Bacon le hors la loi
  • 1992 - Zébrage
  • 1992 - journal 1922-1989
  • 1994 - journal de Chine
  • 1996 - Miroir de l'Afrique (Posthum published anthology of its most important Africa studies)

secondary literature

  • Irene Albers, Helmut Pfeiffer: Michel Leiris - scenes of the Transgression. Munich (William finch) 2004.
  • Hans Jürgen Heinrichs: A life as artists and Ethnologe: Over Michel Leiris. Frankfurt/Main (S. Fischer) 1992
  • Stephan Moebius: THE MAGICIAN'S APPRENTICES. Sociology history COLLÈGE DE SOCIOLOGIE 1937-1939 (Georges Bataille, Michel Leiris, Roger Caillois and the effects on Foucault, Lévinas, Nancy, Maffesoli, Baudrillard and Derrida). 552 sides, Konstanz: UVK, 2006, ISBN 3-89669-532-0

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