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The Impossible [Paperback]

by Georges Bataille, Robert Hurley
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1, 2001 0872862623 978-0872862623

In a philosophical erotic narrative, an essay on poetry, and in poems Georges Bataille pursues his guiding concept, the impossible. The narrator engages in a journey, one reminiscent of the Grail quest; failing, he experiences truth. He describes a movement toward a disappearing object, the same elusive object that moved Theresa of Avila and Catherine of Siena to ecstasy.

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: City Lights Publishers (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872862623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872862623
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 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: #446,601 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

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The new Ulysses November 15, 2009
By Soren
I believe that one day people will come back to this book and consider it to be as ground breaking for the novel as Ulysses was.

It is simply amazing.

There were parts that were so haunting and that drew me to such deep unconscious wells that I felt like screaming at the book with all my strength, eating it, and then crawling under my bed chuckling madly.

I have seen Her. I have seen Him. And it has all happenned over and over again across the ages.

If the future is capable of writing more gems like this, then we have something to look forward to after all.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Obscure September 13, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bataille's anthropology is refreshing, but I can't get through his literature- it's just too dense and obscure, and seems very one dimensional. I read 50 pages of the book, and can't pick it up again. It's either too depressing, or too flat, or I'm just not getting what he's describing. Whether it's dada or surreal, I can't figure out. Maybe if I finish the whole thing I'd get the picture, or maybe not. Oh, well.
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9 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a 'better book' may be unimaginable... November 16, 2003
By ge
Format:Paperback terms of unpredictability, uniqueness,
confessional-poetic-mystic-debauchery and
edge-thriving elan
(some call it true amour)--
Bataille's work here as in
La Somme atheologique trilogy
takes la frigging Cake!
the last coolest Frenchman, 'e wuz!
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars triangulation around a hole void March 16, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Are we talking to each other or objecting to each other?

Impossible (1962) was originally released fifteen years earlier with the title: Hatred of Poetry. People adopt an attitude about things they hate that makes it difficult to have a productive discussion without falling into some secret code. When Haldeman mentioned the Bay of Pigs to Richard Helms after the Watergate break-in, Helms got so mad that Haldeman thought the Bay of Pigs must be a code for the assassination of JFK. Few people considered the Bay of Pigs a highly emotional matter on a personal level.

I was 15 years old in 1962, so I think of bombing Cambodia as the kind of thing that needs a secret code. I was 23 years old when I spent a week in Cambodia in May, 1970, with a camera that captured a few pictures of where I was on the last day there, dampened by a rain that started on the night before.

Impossible begins with the story of a rat. Being sick is part of the story, and it is so cold that a doctor who is supposed to deliver a letter on his way home stops for a drink and forgets to deliver the letter. Some brains need to write things down so they don't forget anything that is more important than what they desire most.

Father A. and the father of B. are two characters in the story of the rat. Father A. has been trained in an irony to still his desires. Americans usually expect to adhere to some form of Christianity, even if a great god has them capture some transcendental ego in Cambodia that makes Vishnu of Lon Nol and Lon Nil. Understanding is a desire that cuts through the official position of those who think that only certain individuals have been authorized to speak to the public.
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10 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond And Before The Erotic April 26, 1998
By A Customer
Note from personal experience (the only way to comment): Passing through the seemingly simple sexual plays of The Father, The Son or Daughter, and The Stark Flesh, one may finally attain a sense of lost freedom in a short excursion into self-conscious poetry forced back on itself. However, dropping the issue and/or the book leaves one caught in the cliche of feeling that one understands. This may require a Quixotic reenactment in order to survive this forgetting --- necessarily not only in the world of one's imagination. This transcendence is then achieved again by that fold and feedback of sacrificing to oneself all that one holds dearly and holy --- reason, despair, and perhaps folly. Only in this way can a true confrontation be finally and for the first time attempted and accomplished.
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