1901? b.April 20th. in Paris. French surrealist Writer Poet and Ethnographer. 1918 obtained his baccalaureat in philosophy and after a brief attempt at studying chemistry, graduated eventually (with some counselling by Max Jacob) from studies at the Sorbonne and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. Developed a strong interest in jazz and poetry.
1921 - 1924 influenced early on by the examples of Raymond Roussel (His father had been the Roussel family lawyer) and Max Jacob, who encouraged him to write; Met Georges Henri Riviere, Jean Dubuffet, Robert Desnos, Georges Bataille and the artist Andre Masson, who soon became his mentor. Through Masson, Leiris joined the surrealists and contributed to La Revolution surrealiste. 1922 frequent visitor to studios of Andre Masson and Joan Miro together with Roland Tual, Armand Salacrou and Georges Limbour. 1925 Signatory to the Declaration of January 27 1925 Glossaire j'y serre mes gloses a fantastic lexicon based on potential analogies between the physical properties of words and their meanings. 1926 m. Louise Godon, stepdaughter of Picasso's dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Traveled to Egypt and Greece. 1927 - 1928 wrote a surrealist novel Aurora (first published in 1946). 1927 Jan; joined Communist Party together with Marcel Duhamel, Paul Eluard, Andre Breton, Jacques Prevert, Yves Tanguy, Pierre Unik, Louis Aragon Signs Manifesto Hands Off Love in defense of Charlie Chaplin. Referenced by Joan Miro together with Georges Bataille in his painting Musique, Seine, Michel, Bataille, et moi. 1929 fall out with Andre Breton; Contributed an essay to the anti-Breton pamphlet Un Cadavre, and joined Georges Bataille as a sub-editor for Documents, to which he also regularly contributed articles Notes on Two Microcosmic Figures of the 14th and 15th Centuries (issue 1); In Connection with the 'Musee des Sorcier' (issue 2), Civilisation (issue 4),
1930 The Caput Mortuumâ or the Alchemist's Wife (issue 8), Introduced by Luis Bunuel to brother in law of Charles de Noailles, Prince de Ligne, who financed the Mission Dakar-Djibouti. 1931 - 1933 secretary-archivist in Marcel Griaule's ~> ethnological field-trip across Africa; the Mission Dakar-Djibouti. Featured in Minotaure. 1934 affair with Helene Gordon La Afrique fantame, combining both an ethnographic study and an autobiographical project, which broke with the traditional ethnographic writing style of Griaule. Upon his return, he started his practice as an ethnographer at the Musee de l'Homme, a position he kept until 1971?. Signatory to Appel a la Lutte against the rise in fascism. 1937 teamed up with Georges Bataille and Roger Caillois to found the College de sociologie. 1939 Erica Brausen helps get him and his wife off the island of Mallorca See article ~>.
1940 Joined the Resistance Groupe Musee de l'Homme~>; amongst whose founders were Rene Iche and Robert Rius. 1945 mission to the Ivory Coast whose report led to the suppression of slavery in French colonies. He was a member of Jean-Paul Sartre?'s editorial committee for Les Temps modernes. Leiris was involved in a series of political struggles, including the Algerian War.
1957 Satrap in the College of Pataphysics together with Jean Ferry, Rene Clair, Joan Miro. 1960 signed the Declaration sur le droit a la insoumission dans la guerre d'Algerie, the manifesto supporting the fight against the colonial powers in Algeria. Member of OULIPO?. 1961 head of research in ethnography at the C.N.R.S. (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) and published numerous critical texts on artists he admired, including Francis Bacon ~>, a close friend for whom he had modeled. 1969? publication on Black Africa and the Caribbean Cinq Etudes d'ethnologie. 1986? With Jean Jamin, [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Jamin]Leiris founded Gradhiva, a journal of anthropology . Leiris was also a talented poet, and poetry was important in his approach to the world. In the preface to *Haut Mal, suivi de Autres Lancers (Gallimard 1969) he is quoted as saying that "the practice of poetry enables us to posit the Other as an equal" and that poetic inspiration is, "a very rare thing, a fleeting gift from Heaven, to which the poet needs to be, at the price of an absolute purity, receptive - and to pay with his unhappiness for the benefits derived from this blessing." Visual arts played an important part in Leiris's life (his wife Louise was a leading Parisian art dealer), and with customary lucidity he wrote illuminatingly on his friends Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, and Francis Bacon?. Later in life, Leiris along with his wife, owned the Galerie Louis Leiris, an art institution in Paris. 1990? d. September 30 in Saint-Hilaire, Essonne) See Web ~> and Hommage a Michael Leiris ~>. See: Michael Leris; French Anthropology and a side trip to the Antilles. pdf ~> and The Deaths of Michel Leiris ~> (pdf). See Timeline