Rosa Eidelpes

Entgrenzung der Mimesis
Georges Bataille – Roger Caillois – Michel Leiris
[The Dissolution of Boundaries of Mimesis. Georges Bataille—Roger Caillois—Michel Leiris]

LiteraturForschung vol. 35
Kulturverlag Kadmos, Berlin 2018, 235 pages
ISBN 978-3-86599-402-8

This book explores conceptions of mimesis and the mimetic in the contact zone between ethnology and the (post-)surrealist avantgarde in 1930s Paris: in Georges Bataille, Roger Caillois, Michel Leiris, and in the informal research collective Collège de Sociologie. The texts and projects by these three authors become the crossroads between aesthetic and ethnological discourses—and they result in an extensive ‘dissolution of boundaries’ of mimesis and the mimetic. The artistic, scientific, and political practices that stood at the center of Bataille’s, Caillois’, and Leiris’ reflections are not limited to the visual imitatio or the merely poietic recreation of the world. They were rather meant to initiate all-encompassing processes of transformation that not least conceived the mimetically acting subject itself.

A study on the entry of the so-called ‘primitive’ into the artistic and literary discourses at the beginning of the 20th century, on the fascination of the avantgarde with ‘primitive ways of thought’ and the wish to adopt these ways of thought by mimetic means—and on the comprehensive aesthetic-theoretical revisions that came as a result.

Media Response

20 Sep 2021
Rosa Eidelpes: Entgrenzung der Mimesis

Collective review by Stephan Zandt, in: Weimarer Beiträge 67.3 (2021), 464–469