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The Bataille Reader Paperback – September 9, 1997

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (September 9, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631199594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631199595
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Bataille: A Critical Reader is a careful selection of some of the best and most interesting critical work on this elusive and often obscure thinker." University of Sussex

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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.

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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Wong Hon Ming on June 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
The idea of editing a Bataille Reader in 320 pages might sound unthinkable to any French scholars of Bataille. Similar collection has never been appeared in France. The reason for such absence might be due to the complexity of the thought of Bataille and the voluminous nature of his writings. Once a devoted theology student, a libertine, a surrealist dissident, chief organizer for "College de Sociologie", founder of secret society "Acephale" and the most important French revue "Critique", Bataille has always been a figure of respect and controversy.
In the most literal sense, Bataille's writings are personal: the narrations (pornography, poems), philosophical discourses (Inner Experience, On Nietzsche) and interpretations (book review, art criticism) he put forward are originated from his intense desire to appropriate life's meaning/mystery. Interspersed over the pages in present Reader are principal leitmotivs of Bataille: laughter, death, chance, gift, transgressions etc. In these texts we shall never encounter the stiff coldness common to certain analytical philosophers. Bataille uplifts us from solid ground and force us to head for the furthest in our intellectual reserch. Sometimes, if not always, reading Bataille could be an unbearbale experience. Passages from "Madame Edwarda" in this Reader can be served as a test for your tolerance. To me it is the most important theological investigation ever written by Bataille - the prostitute as incarnation of divinity. After reading this text may be you would agree with Sartre in calling Bataille a "New Mystic". This Bataille Reader is indeed an ideal 'book of initiation' to Bataille - the most inspiring French thinker born a hundred and three years ago.
Afterall, I'm happy to place this excellent compendium next to the 12 yellow bricks (the French Gallimard edition of Oeuvres completes looks like bricks) already lying on my shelf.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Uwe R. Ubuwe on December 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
My interest in Bataille has different emphases than Mr. Wong's (the writer of the first review), but I'm happy to refer the reader to his intelligent, poetic, and sympathetic reading of Bataille. A bit more might be said, though, about the work of the editors.

Bataille's oeuvre is wide-ranging, to say the least: erotica to economics. Botting and Wilson's volume gives one a thoughtful overview divided into sensible categories; it begins with an informative and perceptive, but not over-long or overbearing intro. The excerpts from Bataille's writings are long enough to give one a sense of what he wants to say (many are complete essays or long book excerpts) and are free from annoying cuts.

I bought the book some years ago when I found that I needed to learn about Bataille's work (esp. economy, ritual, sacrifice)--then picked it up when I _really_ needed it. I learned a lot (many sections deserve multiple readings)and have also gained a sense of where to look to try to learn more (the temptation to write this review arose while looking for some of the works I've been missing). What more can you ask from a _Bataille Reader_?

It's also worth pointing out, perhaps, that _The Bataille Reader_ is a notable exception in an often undistinguished genre. (Paul Rabinow's _Foucault Reader_, for instance, is disappointing--Rabinow's own excellent scholarship notwithstanding). Yes, one can (and in the case of Foucault no doubt should) skip the Reader and simply start on the complete corpus. But volumes of the "reader" type, if done with the care, thought, and understanding of Botting and Wilson, demand a great deal of time and work, of devotion to the author whose work they're presenting and, indeed, of generosity toward their own readership. They deserve our gratitude.
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