Nights as Day, Days as Night

Michael Leiris, Author, Michel Leiris, Author, Richard Sieburth, Translator Eridanos Press $22 (169p) ISBN 978-0-941419-06-2
This collection of dream entries, most no more than a paragraph or two, and reflections titled ""half-asleep'' and ``real-life'' span a period of 37 years. Referred to by the translator as ``prose poems,'' they loosely mirror Leiris's own eclectic career. A member of the Surrealist set in the '20s, he later became an anthropologist. The early entries draw heavily on surrealist obsessions and seem labored, reworked. Later fragments are more intimate, especially those from World War II and his frankly admitted extramarital affair in 1934. Entries from the late '40s and '50s reflect his fascination with ethnology. Although friendships with such tantalizing figures as Simone de Beauvoir and Andre Masson are mentioned, we meet them only as shadowy characters in dreams. Leiris's fascinating life is covered in his lengthy autobiography and African journal. These vignettes hold little interest, except as an adventure into introspection. A foreword by Maurice Blanchot and an introduction by Roger Shattuck are both informative. (May)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1988
Release date: 12/01/1988
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