Michel Leiris’s contributions to literature and society span the twentieth century and various modes of writing. Best known as an autobiographer and as an ethnographer, he was also a member of the Parisian Surrealist group, a diarist, essayist, critic of arts and letters, and a poet – this latter status being, in his view, the highest a writer could achieve, and an aspiration for him even when he was recognised principally for his prose. Leiris’s public profile was limited by his inclination to adhere modestly to prominent collectives and campaigns by reflecting on them in his writing rather than by seeking outspokenness or leadership. He turned down the French cultural ministry’s prestigious annual award for literature, Le grand prix national des lettres, in 1980 (only one other…

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Citation: Wilks, Thomas. "Michel Leiris". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 April 2013 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=12408, accessed 18 May 2024.]

12408 Michel Leiris 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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