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"Michel Leiris is the author of the most significant and arresting work of autobiography to have been written in the twentieth century."--John Sturrock "For me his work is not only a document that enriches our knowledge of man, but also a personal testament that touches me deeply."--Francis Bacon ' Scratches' is the first volume in Michel Leiris's monumental four-volume autobiography, 'Rules of the Game.' In this volume, the celebrated French writer examines his inventory of memories, explores the language of his childhood, weaves anecdotes from his private life with his old and recent ideas. In the end, he so mercilessly scrutinizes what was familiar that its familiarity drops away and it blossoms into something exotic. As Leiris recollects his childhood, his father's recording machine becomes a miraculous object and the letters of the alphabet--from A (or the double ladder of a house painter) to I (a soldier standing at attention) to X (the cross one makes on something whose secret one will never penetrate)--come magically to life.
Also here are evocations of Paris under the occupation, his journey to Africa, and meditations on his fear of death, which he tried to exorcise through his autobiographical writings.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 19.05mm | 400g
  • Baltimore, MD, United States
  • English
  • Johns Hopkins ed.
  • 0801854865
  • 9780801854866
  • 331,746

Review quote

"Michel Leiris is the author of the most significant and arresting work of autobiography to have been written in the twentieth century."--John Sturrock
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About Michel Leiris

Eminent poet, essayist, anthropologist, art critic, and author of over twenty books, Michel Leiris (1901-90) is one of the most important French writers of the twentieth century. He deeply influenced Levi-Strauss and Foucault, and was a member of the celebrated group that included Bataille, Jacob, Picasso, de Beauvoir, Gris, Cisaire, and Mirs. 'Biffures' ['Scratches'], volume 1 of his four-part autobiography, was first published in 1948. 'Fourbis' ['Scraps'], volume 2, first appeared in 1955 and the first English translation of it, also by Lydia Davis, is available from Johns Hopkins. English translations of the remaining two volumes will also be published by Johns Hopkins. Lydia Davis has translated more than 25 books, including works by Sartre, Maurice Blanchot, Michel Butor, and Georges Simenon. Recipient of Ingram Merrill Foundation and NEA fellowships, and a Whiting Writers Award, she is the author of a short story collection, 'Break It Down', and a novel, 'The End of the Story'.
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Rating details

25 ratings
4.2 out of 5 stars
5 32% (8)
4 56% (14)
3 12% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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