The Bataille Reader - PDF book by Georges Bataille

 The Bataille Reader by Georges Bataille  

Georges Bataille


The idea of editing a Bataille Reader in 320 pages might sound unthinkable to any French scholars of Bataille. A similar collection has never appeared in France. The reason for such absence might be due to the complexity of the thought of Bataille and the voluminous nature of his writings. Once a devoted theology student, a libertine, a surrealist dissident, chief organizer for "College de Sociologie", founder of the secret society "Acephale" and the most important French revue "Critique", Bataille has always been a figure of respect and controversy.

In the most literal sense, Bataille's writings are personal: the narrations (pornography, poems), philosophical discourses (Inner Experience, On Nietzsche) and interpretations (book review, art criticism) he put forward are originated from his intense desire to appropriate life's meaning/mystery. Interspersed over the pages in the present Reader are principal leitmotivs of Bataille: laughter, death, chance, gift, transgressions, etc. 


In these texts, we shall never encounter the stiff coldness common to certain analytical philosophers. Bataille uplifts us from solid ground and forces us to head for the furthest in our intellectual research. Sometimes, if not always, reading Bataille could be an unbearable experience. Passages from "Madame Edwarda" in this Reader can be served as a test for your tolerance. To me, it is the most important theological investigation ever written by Bataille - the prostitute as an incarnation of divinity. After reading this text maybe you would agree with Sartre in calling Bataille a "New Mystic". This Bataille Reader is indeed an ideal 'book of initiation' to Bataille - the most inspiring French thinker born over one hundred


Contents of the book:


Acknowledgements vii
Introduction: From Experience to Economy 1
Part I Inner Experience 35
1 Chance 37
2 Guilt 55
3 Laughter 59
4 The Torment 64
5 Christ 92
6 Love 94
7 Life 98
8 Poetry 105
9 Autobiographical Note 113
Part II Heterology 119
10 Program (Relative to Acephale) 121
11 The Psychological Structure of Fascism 122
12 The Use-Value of D. A. F. de Sade (An Open Letter to
My Current Comrades) 147
13 Base Materialism and Gnosticism 160
Part III General Economy 1 65
1 4 The Notion of Expenditure 167
15 The Meaning of General Economy 182
16 Laws of General Economy 188
17 The Gift of Rivalry: ‘Potlatch’ 199
18 Sacrifice, the Festival and the Principles of the
Sacred World 210
Part IV Eroticism 221
19 Madame Edwarda 223
20 Preface to the History of Eroticism 237
21 Death 242
22 The Festival, or the Transgression of Prohibitions 248
23 The Phaedra Complex 253
24 Desire Horrified at Losing and at Losing Oneself 258
25 The Object of Desire and the Totality of the Real 264
26 Epilogue to the History of Eroticism 271
Part V Sovereignty 275
27 To Whom 277
28 Hegel, Death and Sacrifice 279
29 Letter to X, Lecturer on Hegel 296
30 Knowledge of Sovereignty 301
3 1 The Schema of Sovereignty 313
32 Un-knowing and its Consequences 321
33 Un-knowing and Rebellion 327
34 On Nietzsche: The Will to Chance 330
Bibliography 343
Index 348


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