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Erotism: Death and Sensuality Paperback – January 1, 1986


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Product Details

  • Series: Death and Sensuality
  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: City Lights Publishers (January 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872861902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872861909
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation)

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Customer Reviews

As near as I know she likes it very, very much.
Slick
Be warned it is highly complex and the author likes to use difficult style and vocabulary.
Jerry
If I had to pick one book for the Bataille newbie, it would be this one.
Mark Nadja

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Mark Nadja on January 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
If I had to pick one book for the Bataille newbie, it would be this one. *Erotism* puts forth the crux of Georges Bataille's critical thought in what is its clearest and most forthright expression. Here the man once called "the theoretician of evil" lays out for the educated layman his controversial and challenging views of the interrelationship of sexuality, violence, taboo, suffering, mysticism, and death. Most of the major ideas found in Bataille's more complicated philosophical works such as *The Accursed Share* are distilled here, as well as the philosophical underpinning of the infamous novels *Madame Edwarda* and *The Dead Man.*

Bataille is always perversely entertaining, if sometimes frustrating, having a facility to cast even the most lurid subjects in a language that can render pornography intellectually impenetrable. The problem is partly due to the fact that Bataille's main concern is to elucidate what he calls "extreme states of being," those experiences at the very limit of human possibility such as orgasm, visions, and death--phenomenon that philosophy has traditionally left out of the equation when considering human life. Because these extreme experiences are often irrational--or transcend rationality, as Bataille would prefer it--they usually fall outside the natural scope of philosophy, as well as language itself. Bataille, who tries to write about these inner states on the outer edge, can only do so by ultimately failing, which he readily acknowledges is necessarily the fate of anyone who tries to express the inexpressible.

In *Erotism,* Bataille, for the most part, confines himself to saying what can be said before it becomes unspeakable and that's what makes this book so much more readable than most of his other texts.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By P. Cockeram on August 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
Bataille's text represents a cogent, penetrating examination of the topics of eroticism and death, as well as the violence that connects them. He explores some of the links between erotic activity and violence, providing a refreshingly intellectual perspective on subjects typically ruled by silence.

Where Freud noted a connection between sex and violence, Bataille explores this connection in light of its broader philosophical implications. His section on Christianity is particularly helpful in understanding how that religion has rendered an entire sphere of sacred experience unto the profane world, with grave consequences for human culture. Never indicting Christianity or condemning it outright, Bataille instead seeks to explain the condition of humanity in the mid- to late-twentieth century--a condition that still very much troubles us today.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most amazing books I've ever read. Bataille contemplates humanity by means of erotism. He deals with love, sex, death and spirituality. He quests what makes human distinguished from other animals. He is vague sometimes, and leaps amazingly. Actually, I read the book in Korean, but I'd like to share the feeling with anyone who'd love to. If you liked this book, please write to me!
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By situpunk on February 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Before Foucault ruined the game, this was the cutting edge of theoretical musings on sex. Bataille's "continuity" concept of the erotic still seems fascinating (if not slightly intuitive), especially in the chapters on war and mysticism. Beware of the difficult language, but once this hurdle is cleared you're in for a delightful read.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steiner VINE VOICE on June 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
Bataille's philosophical/anthropological examination into taboo's and transgressions is a fine work of theoretical inquiry, though it ultimately fails to say anything that Freud has not already said in 'Totem and Taboo' as well as 'Civilization and its Discontents.' Although Bataille's familiarity with ethnographic records is stronger than Freud's, his capacity to extrapolate theories from them is far weaker. I believe that Bataille does little in the way of gathering a unified theory of the taboo and transgression, nor does he provide any genuine insight into the connection between human sensuality and death. However, I found his analysis of Sade and the final commentary on sanctity to be quite interesting.
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By Jerry on April 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is amazing! Be warned it is highly complex and the author likes to use difficult style and vocabulary. Nonetheless, I have truly enjoyed this book. I highly recommend it.
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