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Michel Leiris

Datum narození: 20. duben 1901
Datum úmrtí: 30. září 1990

Michel Leiris byl francouzský spisovatel a etnograf.

V mládí, ve 20. letech 20. století, měl blízko k surrealismu. Se surrealisty se však rozešel v roce 1929 a poté začal studovat etnologii. Surrealismus, psychoanalýza a etnologie však společně ovlivnily charakter jeho próz. Ty jsou silně esejistické a reflexivní, analyzující sny, vzpomínky, vlastní obsese a fixace. Nejslavnějším z nich je silně autobiografický román Věk dospělosti z roku 1939, který je jakousi psychoanalytickou zpovědí odhalující osobní mýty i mýty celé společnosti.

Psal i básně a odborné práce, například o mýtech Dogonů. Pracoval v pařížském Muzeu člověka . Napsal též portréty André Massona , Alberta Giacomettiho či Francise Bacona. Po válce úzce spolupracoval s Jean-Paul Sartrem a patřil k zakladatelům jeho revue Les Temps modernes. Angažoval se v kampaních proti rasismu a válce v Alžírsku.

„Nikdo by si nikdy neměl gratulovat, že plně unikl absurdní síle křesťanské morálky.“

„When the human voice is reduced to being no longer a song, a word, or a cry, but the articulation of the unnamable itself, it is natural that there should be no other sound than the grinding of ice in the polar regions, the light, intermittent crackling of silk in the highest zones of the atmosphere, at the moment when the aurora borealis unfurls its strange, cold spangles. Majesty does not tolerate other eyes than these hard crystals“ Brisees

„I am imbued with the notion that a Muse is necessarily a dead woman, inaccessible or absent; that a poetic structure - like the canon, which is only a hole surrounded by steel - can be based only on what one does not have; and that ultimately one can write only to fill a void or at the least to situate, in relation to the most lucid part of ourselves, the place where this incommensurable abyss yawns within us.“

„Pessimism is a towering skyscraper eighty stories high in the suburbs of the soul at the end of a long avenue with waste ground on either side and a few poorly-stocked little shops. Several ultra-fast staircases give access to the building, running up from the cellars to the roof-gardens. The comfort of this place leaves nothing to be desired and only the greatest luxury is acceptable, but every Friday the residents gather on the ground floor to read from a bible bound in the skin of a blind man. The psalmic words they intone rise up through the pipes, sigh in the stoves and sweep the chimneys coated inside with black grease which leaves dirt on the skin. Water runs constantly in the bathrooms and the showers beat down on the numbered bodies, peppering them with sand. On Sundays the bed linen unrolls by itself and nobody makes love. For this tower block, like an obscure phallus scraping the vulva of the sky, is usually a hive of sexual activity. The most beautiful woman lives there, but no-one has ever known her. It is said, that dressed in furs and feathers, she keeps herself shut away in a first-floor apartment as if in a white safe. Her windows are scissors which cut short both shadow and breath. Her name is AURORA.“ Aurora

„poetry’s favourite moment is when one loses one’s footing because of a landslide or seismic shaking of thought“ Brisees

„.. the sense of a catastrophe perpetually invoked and avoided creates a rapture in whose depths horror and pleasure coincide...“ Manhood: A Journey from Childhood into the Fierce Order of Virility

„…It was this white garment of mourning which he still wore, the white mourning of surgical gowns so much more significant than black, since white is the colour of obliteration whereas black, far from being the colour of emptiness and nothingness, is much more the active shade which makes the deep and therefore dark substance of all things stand out, from the flight of despair whose magical blackness animates the blank parchment of the soul, to the supposedly sinister flight of the raven, whose croakings and cadaverous meals are but the joyful signs of physical metamorphoses, black as congelead blood or charred wood, but much less lugubrious than the deathly restfulness of white. Yet this desert whiteness did not rule out all subsequent possibilities, when it too would coagulate to form directions in blood and when it too would know the three congruences of putrefaction.“ Aurora

„Eroticism releases, ever so slightly, great lightning flashes that, on occasion, reveal to us the true nature of a given organ, suddenly restoring both its whole reality and its hallucinatory force, while simultaneously installing as sovereign goddess the abolition of hierarchies- those hierarchies within which we habitually grade, for better or for worse, the different parts of the body.“

„Midway between the too soiled ground and the too-sublime vaults, at the level of the air, entering the skin of the role, poetry plays its game.“ Brisees

„Always beneath or above concrete events, I remain a prisoner of this alternative: the world as a real object that dominates me and devours me (like Judith) in suffering and in fear, or else the world as a pure fantasy which dissolves in my hands, which I destroy (like Lucrece thrusting home the dagger) without ever succeeding in possessing it. Perhaps, above all, the question for me is to escape this dilemma by finding a way in which the world and myself--object and subject--confront each other on an equal footing, as the matador stands before the bull.“ Manhood: A Journey from Childhood into the Fierce Order of Virility

„at man’s height the mouth utters its cries, tosses forth its oracles, gives vent to its puns. To allow words to come to life, bare themselves, and show us by chance, for the space of a lightning bolt bony with dice, a few of our reasons for living and dying“ Brisees

„And the beautiful lady, still with her beautiful wasp’s waist, the very beautiful lady whose charms buzz around our childish dreams, will not turn to cigar smoke when the North Star appears.“ Brisees

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