Nights as Day, Days as Night by Michel Leiris / Spurl Editions / 196 pages / $17.50 / Translated by Richard Sieburth, with a foreword by Maurice Blanchot
Spurl Editions has republished this long-out-of-print collection of Michel Leiris’ dreams.
In the way that dreams can reflect and shine light upon one’s waking life, these dream recollections are at once fantastical and autobiographical.
Collected over a period of forty years and translated from the French by Richard Sieburth, together they form an intimate portrait of the dreamer.
Leiris presents his dreams as short scenes. Some are only a few sentences, none are longer than about two pages, and all but a few contain no analysis.
As Sieburth notes in his introduction, Leiris considered these pieces among his poems.
Were these pieces solely works of the imagination these would be fascinating to read. But there’s no artifice in dreams so, recounted candidly, these sketches allow the reader to see what makes Leiris tick. The details of his everyday life in France, anxieties, and pleasures subsumed with half-awake visions and the deep matrix of the Surrealist’s dreaming subconscious.
Dreams are by nature collage-like and this book itself is like a collage of nightly adventures and absurdities.