Michel Leiris (1901, 1990) joined the surrealist group led by André Breton in 1921; he published a volume of poetry and a surrealist novel, Aurora. In 1922 he began a lifelong practice of keeping a diary. He married Louise Godon (“Zette”) in 1926. In 1929, afflicted with depression, a year of sexual impotence, masochist tendencies, alcohol abuse, and writer’s block, he entered psychoanalysis with Dr. Adrien Borel. His diary, dedicated to total lucidity and a ruthless account of everything mortifying in himself, now is also psychoanalysis. He joined the dissident surrealists gathered around Georges Bataille. He followed anthropology courses taught by Marcel Mauss. He came to know Marcel Griaule, a young pilot in the French Air Force who now devoted himself to anthropology and had obtained diplomas in two Abyssinian languages. In 1931 Griaule organized a twenty-one-month expedition traversing Africa from Dakar to Djibouti. Leiris joined the expedition as...
A Surrealist Writer’s Diary of a Twenty-One-Month Anthropological Expedition
Alphonso Lingis is professor emeritus of philosophy at Pennsylvania State University. He has published Excesses: Eros and Culture (1984), Libido: The French Existential Theories (1985), Phenomenological Explanations (1986), Deathbound Subjectivity (1989), The Community of Those Who Have Nothing in Common (1994), Abuses (1994), Foreign Bodies (1994), Sensation: Intelligibility in Sensibility (1995), The Imperative (1998), Dangerous Emotions (1999), Trust (2003), Body Modifications: Evolutions and Atavisms in Culture (2005), The First Person Singular (2007), Contact (2010), and Violence and Splendor (2011).
Alphonso Lingis; A Surrealist Writer’s Diary of a Twenty-One-Month Anthropological Expedition. Cultural Politics 1 July 2018; 14 (2): 263–273. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/17432197-6609130
Download citation file:
Sign in via your InstitutionSign In