The Bataille Reader by Georges Bataille - PDF book

 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 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

Georges Albert Maurice Victor Bataille was a French intellectual and literary figure working in literature, philosophy, anthropology, consumerism, sociology, and history of art. His writing, which included essays, novels, and poetry, explored such subjects as erotism, mysticism, surrealism, and transgression.

Contents of the book:

Acknowledgments 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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