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L'Abbe C Paperback – April 1, 2001

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Language Notes

Text: English, French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 158 pages
  • Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd; 1 edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071452848X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714528489
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,963,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Georges Bataille was born in Billom, France, in 1897. He was a librarian by profession. Also a philosopher, novelist, and critic, he was founder of the College of Sociology. Bataille died in 1962.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Bataille's L'Abbe C provides you with a reading atmosphere of unsettling density akin to that of the more famous Story of the Eye, while lacking the flood of relentless pornographic imagery that can be witnessed in that novel. The book can be tedious and pretentious at times (as with anything by Bataille), but it remains a rather fascinating literary diversion. The story, which seems to concern the muddled web of feelings existing between a pair of brothers who are in love with the same mysterious woman, is presented in too surreal a fashion to be particularly coherent; however, the most immediately accessible merits of Bataille's literature have less to do with understanding specifically what is happening, and more to do with the dream-like sense (or rather nightmare-like sense) of profundity provoked. Think of one of David Lynch's better films in the form of a french novel from the early part of the century, and you'll be on the right track. L'abbe C isn't as compulsively readable as the disturbing pornographic masterpiece Story of the Eye, but will still provide the patient reader with numerous rewards. The mad priest's diary, at the end of the novel, is of particular interest.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Hovig on December 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
"L'Abbe C" is the story of Robert, a priest who is so upstanding he is called "L'Abbe" ("the abbot"), and his twin brother Charles, a "libertine" (i.e., a playboy, or man of loose morals). Charles has a sexual relationship with Eponine, a woman whose morals approach his, but Eponine is attracted to Robert, making for sexual tension. Worse, Robert is secretly attracted to Eponine, making for psychological tension. We learn early in the book that the story will turn out badly for all parties involved, each suffering in their own way, so it is not revealing a secret to say the tensions in this multi-faceted relationship do not lead to a healthy outcome. The story is told mostly from Charles's point of view.
Robert breaks down psychologically, fainting at a church service he is attempting to deliver with Eponine in the congregation. Robert begins drinking heavily, and begins stalking Eponine's home in the dead of night, leaving behind sick signs of his presence. He can no longer discern good from evil, nor morality from immorality, and eventually cracks altogether, leaving town for a hotel on the outskirts, where he stays with two semi-professional ladies of looser morals than Eponine's. The novel twists a few more times from there, then resolves itself tragically.
The book is essentially a reflection on morality and cowardice, the latter being the human element required for maintaining morality, but also for being true to one's self, which can sometimes oppose what we believe to be moral. While it has an interesting theme, it is written almost entirely for shock value (or at least what passes for shock value for an author born in 1897, and writing in 1950), but does not convincingly expound upon or communicate its theme to the reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Anne @ Twisted Knickers on June 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Our story begins in the voice of the editor as he explains how he received a mysterious and unfinished manuscript from his acquaintance, Charles. This manuscript depicts the untold events of Charles' Brother Robert and his final days.

Charles and Robert are identical twins, and as in many stories of this nature, they are complete opposites, or so it appears on the surface. Charles denies himself nothing, and Robert is a priest. One might assume that this would be a story of conflicting principles or maybe even a story of dysfunctional sibling rivalry ... but no, this story is much more corrupt than that, for it is a story of perception, projection, and deceit.

True to form, Bataille offers us, not just a grazing of the skin, but a deep penetration into the void of depravation and obscenity. His style is that of a clinical master, as he dissects the bloody entrails of human desire, selfishness, conceit, and delusion. Charles is written as an open wound, and he bleeds his confession onto the pages. But as we have come to expect from Bataille, the prose is restrained, the imagery subtle and often obscured by the characters' emotions. He leaves the details to the imagination and focuses purely on the internal emotional turmoil of the characters. Those emotions are bludgeoning in their corruption and confusion.

Charles, upon finding that his brother is ill, sets out to prove a theory. Charles has been convinced all his life that his brother Robert is a fraud. That his piety is a masterful deception and that Robert, beneath the cassock and his own flesh, is exactly like Charles himself. He conspires with his mistress, the local whore, to seduce Robert. The whore is willing to oblige, as she has been in love with Robert since childhood.
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