Georges Bataille and the Sacrifice of Form
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Fordham University Press
Table of Contents
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List of Figures
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This book began as a doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago Divinity School. During my time at the Divinity School, I received advice and support from numerous friends and professors. I am particularly grateful to the three members of the faculty who together made up a dissertation...
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In the 1930s, French writer Georges Bataille (1897–1962) established a secret society known as Acephale. In the journal by the same name that provided the group’s public facade, Bataille sets the mood for this obscure ‘‘headless’’ organization, declaring with imperative exigency, ‘‘WE ARE...
Chapter 1: Ecstatic and Intolerable: The Provocations of Friendship
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Georges Bataille died in 1962, a year after completing his last book, The Tears of Eros, a lavishly illustrated essay on the history of eroticism. This book represents a visual and textual record of this writer’s final days; the inevitability of death that had terrified and elated Bataille throughout his...
Chapter 2: Nietzsche Slain
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It was in 1923, at about the age of twenty-five, that Georges Bataille first read Friedrich Nietzsche. He cites this encounter as a decisive event in his life,1 one that infuses his philosophical inquiries with increased passion and fuels his explorations into the limits of human existence. In the years following...
Chapter 3: The Labyrinth: Toward Bataille’s ‘‘Extremist Surrealism’’
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Upon a first reading, Bataille’s late book Lascaux, or The Birth of Art1 appears straightforward enough. Published in 1955 as part of the mainstream ‘‘Great Centuries of Painting’’ series by the Skira Color Studio, the text of this book is a sustained exposition of the conditions under...
Chapter 4: The Cross: Simone Weil’s Hyperchristianity
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Simone Weil was a familiar of caves and labyrinths, at least in her writings. For example, Weil identifies with Antigone, the tragic figure who takes her own life within the hollow of a cave as a show of impassioned obedience to divine law.1 Weil’s theological writings are also markedly inflected by Platonic...
Chapter 5: The Wounded Hands of Bataille: Hans Bellmer, Bataille, and the Art of Monstrosity
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Among the artistic depictions of the crucified Christ at Golgotha, Matthias Grunewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece (1515) remains among the most remarkable for its almost photographic portrayal of divine abjection (figure 2).1 To the right of the crucified Christ, supported by a sympathetic witness,2 is a...
Conclusion: Bataillean Meditations
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In book 4 of his Generation of Animals, Aristotle remarks upon the conditions that define monstrosity: ‘‘Anyone who does not take after his parents is really in a way a monstrosity [teras], since in these cases Nature has in a way strayed from the generic type.’’1 Bataille would agree with the letter, if...
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Page Count: 372
Publication Year: 2007