Michel Leiris – AURORA and CARDINAL POINT

In a novel of extremes, whose disgust with “things as they are” includes the whole idea of “novels”, Michel Leiris pursues his heroine, Aurora, through a visionary landscape shot through with catastrophes — and his lucid yet baroque language, with its incredible descriptions and ever more extravagant metaphors, is only just able to keep pace. Leiris himself, looking back on this novel from his youth, exactly described its tone:

… despite the “black” or “frenetic” style of its blustering prose, what I like about this work is the appetite it expresses for an unattainable purity, the faith it places in the untamed imagination, the horror it manifests with regard to any kind of fixity — in fact, the way almost every page of it refuses to accept that human condition against which some will never cease to rebel, however reasonably society may be ordered.

Aurorais one of the high-points of literary Surrealism, and Leiris was an early member of the group. Close to Georges Bataille, Picasso and Jean-Paul Sartre, he was a pivotal figure in post-war Paris. A director of the Musée de l’Homme, Leiris wrote important studies in the fields of ethnology and anthropology, as well as a sequence of autobiographical works regarded as classics of modern French literature.

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Aurora translated and introduced by Anna Warby, Cardinal Point translated by Terry Hale.

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Atlast Press, 2013

Atlas Anti-classic17, a reprint of the edition of 1990, with Cardinal Point from Anti-Classic 1, The Automatic Muse, 1994.

Published: Atlas Press

2013

ISBN: 1 900565 46 3,

Pages: 184

Type: hardback with decorated endpapers.