Michel Leiris: Writing the Self

Overview

This is the first full-length study in English of Michel Leiris's work. Frequently cited as a central figure in contemporary French culture, Leiris was an outstanding writer whose double career as ethnographer and creative writer places him at important points of intersection within French cultural history. Sean Hand explores Leiris's active participation in some of the most striking intellectual and artistic movements of the twentieth century: surrealism in the twenties, ethnography in the thirties and ...
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Overview

This is the first full-length study in English of Michel Leiris's work. Frequently cited as a central figure in contemporary French culture, Leiris was an outstanding writer whose double career as ethnographer and creative writer places him at important points of intersection within French cultural history. Sean Hand explores Leiris's active participation in some of the most striking intellectual and artistic movements of the twentieth century: surrealism in the twenties, ethnography in the thirties and existentialism in the forties. Hand locates his writing in these different contexts in relation to the major artistic, political and philosophical concepts of the period. He goes on to argue that Leiris's multi-volume autobiography La Regle du jeu stands as the model form of self-enquiry in the twentieth century. More broadly, Hand explores Leiris's continuing obsession with the notion of 'presence'. Informed by recent critical theories, Hand offers a multi-disciplinary approach to this intriguing writer.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In what is presented as the first full-length study in English of Leiris (1901-90), Hand (French, Oxford Brookes U.) traces the French writer's immersion in the 1920s to 1940s in surrealism, ethnography, and existentialism. From framing his nonfiction in multiple contexts, Hand argues that Leiris's multi-volume autobiography, gle du jeu/> (1948-76) is a model form of modern self-inquiry. The final chapter is an analysis of "thanography," non-being as the limit of autobiography. French passages are not translated. ^^^^ Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
'This is the first in-depth study in English of Michel Leiris's work, and it offers a well organised and penetrating analysis of all the aspects of this unusual writer.' Modern & Contemporary France
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521026024
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in French Series , #70
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Seán Hand is Professor of French and Head of the School of Languages at Oxford Brookes University. He has published on Derrida, psychoanalysis, and contemporary French writing.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
List of abbreviations
Introduction: the deaths of Michel Leiris 1
Pt. I Texts and Contexts
1 Unities and identities: Leiris and surrealism 15
2 Recasting the self: from surrealism to ethnography 45
3 Autobiographical frameworks: from ethnography to L'Age d'homme 61
4 Positional play: La Regle du jeu 85
5 Secreting the self: Journal 1922-1989 122
Pt. II The Quest for Presence in La Regle du jeu
6 Excess of joy: the beginnings of presence in ' ... Reusement!' 151
7 Organs of learning: sensing presence in Biffures 158
8 The act of union: being-in-the-world in La Regle du jeu 169
9 Thanatography: non-being as the limit of autobiography 185
Conclusion: locating Leiris 202
Notes 206
Bibliography 229
Index 255
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