Michel Leiris


Illustrated by André Masson. Translated by Paul Hammond.

Michel Leiris (1901-1990) was a poet, novelist, and ethnographer. After leaving the Surrealist group, he was associated with Jean-Paul Sartre and Georges Bataille. It was with the latter, and with the artists André Masson and Pablo Picasso, that Leiris acquired his enthusiasm for the bullfight. Mirror of Tauromachy is his summation of this life-long passion.

He considers the bullfight in all its mythological and sociological significances, as a form of sacrifice and sacred ceremony, as a means of directly immersing oneself in a world of tragedy, and as an initiation in which the bullfight is the erotic mirror that reveals “certain dark parts of ourselves”. The bullfight’s geometry, its choreography, and the notions of beauty and magic that underpin its ritual are considered in their mythological significance. For Leiris the bullfight is a real mortal confrontation because, unlike religion’s doomed attempts to banish mortality, the bullfight incorporates death into life, and it is this brush with tangency that may put us in contact with our innermost drives. Far from being a celebration of death, the bullfight is an affirmation of what it means to be most alive.

This was the only book to be published by Georges Bataille’s Acéphale group.

Atlas Eclectics & Heteroclites 7.

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2007, ISBN: 978-1-900565-40-0, 80pp, paperback in paper slipcase.
SKU: 978-1-900565-40-0 Category:

Additional information

Weight .18 kg
Dimensions 12 × 21.5 cm