New Books in the Arts & Sciences

Celebrating Recent Work by Brent Edwards

Wednesday, January 31, 2018  6:00pm Maison Francaise East Gallery, Buell Hall


Registration required


The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities

Maison Française

Institute of African Studies

Office of the Divisional Deans in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences

New Books in the Arts & Sciences—panel discussions celebrating recent work by the Columbia Faculty.

Phantom Africa 
by: Michel Leiris, Translated by Brent Edwards

To RSVP, please click here.

Brent Edwards discusses his new English translation of Michel Leiris’s Phantom Africa with invited colleagues. One of the towering classics of 20th century French literature, Phantom Africa is a singular and ultimately unclassifiable work: a book composed of French Surrealist writer Michel Leiris’s compulsive and constantly mutating daily travel journal—by turns melodramatic, self-deprecating, ecstatic, and morose—as well as an exhaustively detailed account of the first French state-sponsored anthropological expedition in sub-Saharan Africa, the Mission Dakar-Djibouti, led by anthropologist Marcel Griaule. Hired to serve as the “secretary-archivist,” Leiris kept a diary where he noted not only a given day’s activities but also his impressions, states of mind, anxieties, dreams, and even his erotic fantasies, and decided to publish it on his return to Paris. The book, never before available in English translation, bears witness to the full range of social and political forces reshaping the African continent in the period between the World Wars.


  • Author

    Brent Edwards

    Professor of English and Comparative Literature

    Columbia University

  • Speaker

    Denis Hollier

    Professor of French Literature, Thought and Culture

    New York University

  • Speaker

    Brian Larkin

    Director of Graduate Studies

    Barnard College, Columbia University

  • Speaker

    Souleymane Bachir Diagne

    Professor of French

    Columbia University

  • Speaker

    Emmanuelle Saada

    Associate Professor of French and Romance Philology; Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies

    Columbia University


By Semester