Georges Bataille (10 September 1897 – 9 July 1962) was a French intellectual and writer working in literature, philosophy, and the history of art. His writings included novels, essays and poetry. His subjects included eroticism, mysticism and transgression.
His fiction includes:
Story of the Eye:
Story of the Eye (L’histoire de l’oeil) is a 1928 short novel that details the increasingly bizarre sexual perversions of a pair of teenage lovers. It is narrated by an unnamed young man looking back on his exploits.
L’Abbé C (1950) is a work of dark eroticism, centred on the relationship between two twentieth century brothers in a small French village, one of whom is a Catholic parish priest, while the other is a libertine. The novel explores issues of split subjectivity, existential angst and bad faith.
Blue of Noon:
Blue of Noon (Le Bleu du Ciel) is a blackly compelling account of depravity and violence. It is an erotic novella in which the narrator travels from city to city in a surreal nightmare, experiencing squalor, sadism and drunken encounters that culminate in incest and necrophilia. Bataille completed the work in 1935, but it was not published until 1957.
My Mother, Madame Edwarda, The Dead Man:
My Mother is a frank and intense depiction of a young man’s sexual initiation and corruption by his mother, where the profane becomes sacred, and intense experience is shown as the only way to transcend the boundaries of society and morality. Madame Edwarda is the story of a prostitute who calls herself God, and The Dead Man, published in 1964 after Bataille’s death, is a startling short tale of cruelty and desire.
His non-fiction includes:
Eroticism is a collection of essays on taboo and sacrifice, transgression and language, death and sensuality. Bataille examines these themes with an original, often startling perspective. He challenges any single discourse on the erotic. The scope of his inquiry ranges from Emily Bronte to Sade, from St. Therese to Claude Levi-Strauss and Dr. Kinsey; and his subjects include prostitution, mythical ecstasy, cruelty, desire and sexuality.
Literature and Evil:
Literature and Evil is an extraordinary 1957 collection of essays, which begins with Bataille’s assertion that ‘Literature is not innocent.’ Bataille argues that only by acknowledging literature’s complicity with the knowledge of evil can literature communicate fully and intensely. The literary profiles of eight authors and their work, including Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal and the writings of Sade, Kafka and Sartre, explore subjects such as violence, eroticism, childhood, myth and transgression.
Georges Bataille’s books are available at:
Details of R J Dent’s work is available at:
Tags: Blue of Noon, Eroticism, French fiction, French literature, Georges Bataille, L'Abbe C, Literature and Evil, Madame Edwarda, My Mother, R J Dent, Story of the Eye, The Dead Man, transgressive fiction