Publisher description for Correspondence / Georges Bataille, Michel Leiris ; edited with notes by Louis Yvert ; afterword by Bernard Noel ; translated by Liz Heron.

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In the autumn of 1924, two young men met in Paris for the first time. Georges Bataille was just 27 and had recently started working at the Bibliothèque nationale. Michel Leiris, 23, was beginning his studies in ethnology.

They discussed the idea of founding a movement which would displace Dada and of launching a magazine based in a brothel. Instead, within a few months, they both became members of the surrealist group. But their adherence to surrealism would not last long. In 1930 they were signatories to the infamous tract against Breton, the ‘Machiavelli of Montmartre’, as Leiris put it. But their own friendship would endure for more than thirty years and their correspondence, assembled here for the first time, would continue until the death of Bataille in 1962.

As these letters show, their intellectual affinities were extensive and although they followed different trajectories - Leiris spending more and more time in Africa as an ethnologist, whilst Bataille remained in Paris developing the ideas on the sacred, sacrifice and eroticism for which he is best known - they continued to have a profound influence on each other. Including a number of short essays by each of them on aspects of the other’s work, and excerpts on Bataille from Leiris’s diaries, this collection of their correspondence throws new light on two of surrealism’s most radical dissidents.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Bataille, Georges, -- 1897-1962 -- Correspondence.
Leiris, Michel, -- 1901-1990 -- Correspondence.
Authors, French -- 20th century -- Correspondence.