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The Accursed Share: an Essay on General Economy, Vol. 1: Consumption Paperback – March 26, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0942299113 ISBN-10: 0942299116 Edition: 1st

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The Accursed Share: an Essay on General Economy, Vol. 1: Consumption + The Accursed Share, Vols. 2 and 3: The History of Eroticism and Sovereignty + Visions Of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939 (Theory and  History of Literature Vol 14)
Price for all three: $55.02

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Zone Books; 1st edition (March 26, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0942299116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0942299113
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Bataille, a leading writer in France from the 1930s to his death in 1962, offers here nothing less than a new theory of civilization. Economists usually emphasize scarcity: limited means must be carefully allotted to serve conflicting ends. Bataille dissents: in his view, much more energy lies available than societies can use. The surplus energy must be dissipated; historically, this was accomplished through war and spending on luxuries. Though Bataille's eye for vivid detail is evident, his theory appears more valuable as a framework for his dazzling literary skills than a contribution to knowledge. Probably of greater interest to students of French literature than to economists or historians. David Gordon, Bowling Green St. Univ., Ohio
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A serious book of political economy that also claims 'the sexual act is in time what the tiger is in space.'... The Accursed Share is a brilliant product of [Bataille's] loony-tunes coupling of critical genres: pseudo/antisurrealist manifestos, leftist political treatises, erotics, Hegel 'n' Nietzsche studies, mysticism, anthropology, and sun worship. " Erik Davis , The Voice Literary Supplement

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By suhravardi@hotmail.com on March 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
In this book, Georges Bataille explores the connection between man's religious and economic pursuits. By focusing in on such divergent practices as human sacrifice and ritualized warfare in Aztec society, the practice of "potlach" in native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest, Tibetan Lamaism, and the conflagrations of our most recent World Wars, the author seeks to overturn classical models of economics. Instead of economics being driven by individuals seeking to satisfy their personal needs, Bataille proposes that economics is actually a social process that seeks to destroy, excrete, and expend excess goods and services. His unique perspective centers around the idea that the systematic destruction and loss of goods and services is intimately connected to our age old struggle to attain the Beyond. The French philosopher Michel Foucault once stated that Bataille said what had never been said before. After reading this first volume of Bataille's three volume work "The Accursed Share", you can begin to understand why Foucault believed as he did.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Read both books that contain all three volumes: in a way, the summation of Bataille's thoughts and written with clarity. It's not just the consumption-expenditure approach to analysing human activity that's orginial, he is (as he states towards the end of vol. 3) the closest thinker to Nietzsche. That is an assertion that bears merit as Bataille examines in as thorough a way possible (and in many ways supplements and is a good commentary on) Nietzsche's ideas of the overman, which he calls the sovereign man. At the core of his thoughts is Hamlet's last line, 'The rest is silence'. Sovereignty is NOTHING. A brilliant and vital contribution to the century's history of ideas.
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By Mark Melchior on February 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this book is a must read. It is of our time like no other. To bad it isn't in more libraries.
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7 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Bruce P. Barten on November 1, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am taking an extremely dim view (I was thinking about theology, but the final sentence of volume 1 mentions teleology, an antiquated teleology, at that, instead) of THE ACCURSED SHARE by Georges Bataille by limiting my review to those issues that were mentioned in Ezra, which I believe was written at the time that the earliest books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus, were compiled in the form some people are familiar with today. The first section of Leviticus, The Ritual of Sacrifice, in chapters 1-7, concludes with a portion for Aaron and his sons by orders of Yahweh binding the sons of Israel for all generations. Ezra opens with Cyrus King of Persia declaring that the temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt and returning vessels of the temple which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem. The greatness and glory associated with this effort is a triumph like "Mankind's Accomplishments Linked to that of the American Economy" on pages 188-189 of ACCURSED SHARE and the final sentence of volume one, "More open, the mind discerns, instead of an antiquated theology, the truth that silence alone does not betray." (p. 190).

The book was written in France to offer support for the American Marshall Plan to rebuild a prosperous global economy after World War II. On the final page of notes, the question, "Why deny the fact that there can no longer be a true initiative toward independence on the part of countries other than the USSR or the USA?" (n. 17, p.
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4 of 16 people found the following review helpful By david 1234 on August 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me as the work of a very great thinker. Having read and re-read it several times I remain distinctly unimpressed. The thesis of the book appears to be that any society, once the most elementry necessities are overcome, inevitably creates a surplus (of time, energy, resources). Soceties differ and are distinguished from one another by how they spend/use this surplus. The productive capacity is not infinite and must inevitably result in "un-productive consumption".

Where is the profoundidty?
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