December 12, 2011

Good morning, sunshine!

Portrait of Michel Leiris by Francis Bacon, 1985 via Asymptote

"The immense force, it seems, that will have to be deployed to move us from the first rough attempt to recover ourselves to a complete mustering, when -- after the three blows struck in some unknown place by the mysterious stage manager who oversees the daily recommencement of the action -- the footlights of what we persisted in concealing of life are no less mysteriously turned on; the anguish, as soon as we are drawn from the dark by this signal, of feeling petrified, restored almost to consciousness but without any control over these inanimate limbs, these scattered bones awaiting some last judgment; the despair, without the attenuation of any outcry, of ever emerging from the mattress of sleep that has become confused with the physical mattress -- itself thick and fleecy -- on which the night has lain down with us; the brutal event, finally, wresting us from these pangs when (without our knowing how such a vapor, with its stifling billows, could have dissipated all at once) we find ourselves with our eyes unsealed."

--Michel Leiris, from Scraps (Rules of the Game vol. 2), 1955 (trans. Lydia Davis, 1997). Buy your very own copy for $.62 on Amazon.


  1. You have not yet caused a run on used Michel Leiris, but I have my fingers crossed. I actually bought Scraps when it was published.

    I had never seen that portrait - I am stunned.

  2. Perhaps the remaining subscribers to this blog are all morning people (freaks!). I might just buy all those sixty-cent copies myself.

    I recently found his giant book on African art which was actually translated into English in the 60s and printed in quite lavish black-and-white. I could probably cause a run on that sucker as the images are incredible...but it's so big and heavy it would crush my scanner.

  3. Speaking of Bacon, have you seen Love is the Devil? I highly recommend it. Here's my take on it.