Failed Masculinity in Leiris' L'âge d'homme, or Men's Studies avant la lettre

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2002


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | French and Francophone Language and Literature


In 1935, Michel Leiris was already asking some of the important questions found at the core of Men's Studies programs and research today: What does it mean to be a man? How are masculinity and femininity related? How does the male individual identify, distinguish, know himself within a given economy of gender? These questions, now posed directly in many scholars' work, take on allegorical forms in Leiris' autobiographical novel L'âge d'homme. The answers, to the extent that Leiris can even begin to articulate them, are tragic tales of loss and alienation.