Bataille: Writing the Sacred (Warwick Studies in European by Carolyn Bailey Gill

By Carolyn Bailey Gill

Georges Bataille's strong writings have involved many readers, enmeshed as they're with the topics of intercourse and demise. His emotive discourse of extra, transgression, sacrifice, and the sacred has had a profound and impressive effect on thinkers resembling Foucault, Derrida and Kristeva. Bataille: Writing the Sacred examines the ongoing strength and effect of his paintings. the total volume of Bataille's subversive and influential writings has in simple terms been made to be had to an English-speaking viewers lately. through bringing jointly overseas experts on Bataille from philosophy and literature to paintings historical past, this assortment is ready to discover the various aspects of his writings.

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Additional info for Bataille: Writing the Sacred (Warwick Studies in European Philosophy)

Example text

All of this can be found, too, in the seduction of Sartre (in Critique de la raison dialectique) by the violence which gives birth to History, by those ‘perfect moments’ which dissolve the series in the ‘groupe-en-fusion’. In all of these examples, we are dealing with a version of the intellectual which is entirely alien to the register of responsible, exemplary engagement. These intellectuals do not baulk at the idea that they could slip [déraper], because the essential thing for them seems to be to let themselves be taken over by emotions, by inspiration and by the sublime—in short, by the irrational which fuses together the supercharged masses.

So before, during and after the war Bataille shows himself to be equally disobedient to the idea of a reasoned engagement in action and anxious to make a place for that which can only elude the specialists of knowledge— the disobedience of all rules, the chaos of emotions, or if one prefers, the heterogeneity from which humanity ineluctably rises and to which it can constantly return. If one forgets what these two incidents I have just cited show us, one can understand nothing of the way in which Bataille grabbed hold of the political history of his time.

Of course, I am merely sketching out here the collision of these two conflicting necessities which had characterized Bataille’s thought since before the war. We know how this double necessity found its expression in terms of rupture, of paradox, of anguish: how Le bleu du ciel, for example, transposes it into a sad hero incapable of taking quite seriously the revolution before his eyes. The famous letter to Kojève of 6 December 1937 in which Bataille expresses his exhaustion merits a long commentary, which I am unable to undertake here.

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