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on November 15, 2009
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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Georges Albert Maurice Victor Bataille (1897–1962) was a French philosopher, novelist, and literary critic (and a librarian by profession); he wrote many books, including The Accursed Share: an Essay on General Economy, Vol. 1: Consumption,The Accursed Share, Vols. 2 and 3: The History of Eroticism and Sovereignty,On Nietzsche,Visions Of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939,The Tears of Eros, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to the second edition of this 1947 book, “Like the fictional narratives of novels, the texts that follow---the first two at any rate---are offered with the intention of depicting the truth. Not that I’m led to believe they have a convincing quality. I didn’t wish to deceive. Moreover there is not any novel in principle. And I couldn’t imagine doing that in my turn better than anyone else. Indeed I think in a sense my narratives clearly attain the IMPOSSIBLE. To be honest, these evocations have a painful heaviness about them. This heaviness may be tied to the fact that that at times horror had a real presence in my life. It may be too that, even when reduced to fiction, horror alone still enabled me to escape the empty feeling of untruth… I first published this book fifteen years ago, giving it an obscure title: ‘The Hatred of Poetry.’ It seemed to me that true poetry was reached only by hatred. Poetry had no powerful meaning except in the violence of revolt. But poetry attains this violence only by invoking the IMPOSSIBLE. Almost no one understood the meaning of the first title, which is why I prefer finally to speak of ‘The Impossible.’ It’s true that this second title is far from being clearer.”

He says, “…if now I think---at this most far away moment of a breakdown, a physical and moral disgust---of the pink tail of a rat in the snow, it seems to share in the intimacy of ‘that which is’; a slight uneasiness clutches my heart. And certainly I know that the immediacy of M., who is dead, was like the tail of a rat, lovely as the tail of a rat! I knew already that the intimacy of things is death… and naturally, NAKEDNESS IS DEATH---and the more truly ‘death’ the lovelier it is!” (Pg. 54)

He observes, “What unimaginable force would my lamentations have had if there were a God? ‘Think about it though. Nothing can escape you now. If God doesn’t exist, this moan, choked back in your solitude, is the extreme limit of the possible: in this sense there is no element of the universe that is not under its power! It is not subject to anything, it dominates everything and yet is formed out of an infinite awareness of impotence: out of a sense of the impossible to be exact!’” (Pg. 78-79)

He states, “I know, I only have to give way to the imperceptible slide of trickery: a slight change and I put an eternal stop to what chilled me: I tremble before God, I raise the desire to tremble to infinity! If human reason (the human limit) is exceeded by the very object to which the limit is given, if E.’s reason succumbs, I can only harmonize with the excess that will destroy me in my turn. But the excess that burns me is the harmony of love within me and I don’t tremble before God, but with love.” (Pg. 100)

He suggests, “It’s funny we’re so unconcerned about this quagmire of sleep. We forget it and don’t see that our unconcern gives our ‘lucid’ airs a mendacious quality. Just now, the slaughterhouse animality of my recent dreams (everything around me disturbed, but delivered over to appeasement) awakens me to the feeling of death’s ‘violation.’ In my view nothing is more precious than the exuberance of rust; nor than a certainty in the sunshine of barely escaping the mildew of the earth. The truth of life cannot be separated from its opposite and if we flee the smell of death, ‘the disorder of the senses’ brings us back to the happiness that is connected with it.” (Pg. 115-116)

This book will be of interest to those studying Bataille.
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Georges Albert Maurice Victor Bataille (1897–1962) was a French philosopher, novelist, and literary critic (and a librarian by profession); he wrote many books, including The Accursed Share: an Essay on General Economy, Vol. 1: Consumption,The Accursed Share, Vols. 2 and 3: The History of Eroticism and Sovereignty,On Nietzsche,Visions Of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939,The Tears of Eros, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to the second edition of this 1947 book, “Like the fictional narratives of novels, the texts that follow---the first two at any rate---are offered with the intention of depicting the truth. Not that I’m led to believe they have a convincing quality. I didn’t wish to deceive. Moreover there is not any novel in principle. And I couldn’t imagine doing that in my turn better than anyone else. Indeed I think in a sense my narratives clearly attain the IMPOSSIBLE. To be honest, these evocations have a painful heaviness about them. This heaviness may be tied to the fact that that at times horror had a real presence in my life. It may be too that, even when reduced to fiction, horror alone still enabled me to escape the empty feeling of untruth… I first published this book fifteen years ago, giving it an obscure title: ‘The Hatred of Poetry.’ It seemed to me that true poetry was reached only by hatred. Poetry had no powerful meaning except in the violence of revolt. But poetry attains this violence only by invoking the IMPOSSIBLE. Almost no one understood the meaning of the first title, which is why I prefer finally to speak of ‘The Impossible.’ It’s true that this second title is far from being clearer.”

He says, “…if now I think---at this most far away moment of a breakdown, a physical and moral disgust---of the pink tail of a rat in the snow, it seems to share in the intimacy of ‘that which is’; a slight uneasiness clutches my heart. And certainly I know that the immediacy of M., who is dead, was like the tail of a rat, lovely as the tail of a rat! I knew already that the intimacy of things is death… and naturally, NAKEDNESS IS DEATH---and the more truly ‘death’ the lovelier it is!” (Pg. 54)

He observes, “What unimaginable force would my lamentations have had if there were a God? ‘Think about it though. Nothing can escape you now. If God doesn’t exist, this moan, choked back in your solitude, is the extreme limit of the possible: in this sense there is no element of the universe that is not under its power! It is not subject to anything, it dominates everything and yet is formed out of an infinite awareness of impotence: out of a sense of the impossible to be exact!’” (Pg. 78-79)

He states, “I know, I only have to give way to the imperceptible slide of trickery: a slight change and I put an eternal stop to what chilled me: I tremble before God, I raise the desire to tremble to infinity! If human reason (the human limit) is exceeded by the very object to which the limit is given, if E.’s reason succumbs, I can only harmonize with the excess that will destroy me in my turn. But the excess that burns me is the harmony of love within me and I don’t tremble before God, but with love.” (Pg. 100)

He suggests, “It’s funny we’re so unconcerned about this quagmire of sleep. We forget it and don’t see that our unconcern gives our ‘lucid’ airs a mendacious quality. Just now, the slaughterhouse animality of my recent dreams (everything around me disturbed, but delivered over to appeasement) awakens me to the feeling of death’s ‘violation.’ In my view nothing is more precious than the exuberance of rust; nor than a certainty in the sunshine of barely escaping the mildew of the earth. The truth of life cannot be separated from its opposite and if we flee the smell of death, ‘the disorder of the senses’ brings us back to the happiness that is connected with it.” (Pg. 115-116)

This book will be of interest to those studying Bataille.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Georges Albert Maurice Victor Bataille (1897–1962) was a French philosopher, novelist, and literary critic (and a librarian by profession); he wrote many books, including The Accursed Share: an Essay on General Economy, Vol. 1: Consumption,The Accursed Share, Vols. 2 and 3: The History of Eroticism and Sovereignty,On Nietzsche,Visions Of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939,The Tears of Eros, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to the second edition of this 1947 book, “Like the fictional narratives of novels, the texts that follow---the first two at any rate---are offered with the intention of depicting the truth. Not that I’m led to believe they have a convincing quality. I didn’t wish to deceive. Moreover there is not any novel in principle. And I couldn’t imagine doing that in my turn better than anyone else. Indeed I think in a sense my narratives clearly attain the IMPOSSIBLE. To be honest, these evocations have a painful heaviness about them. This heaviness may be tied to the fact that that at times horror had a real presence in my life. It may be too that, even when reduced to fiction, horror alone still enabled me to escape the empty feeling of untruth… I first published this book fifteen years ago, giving it an obscure title: ‘The Hatred of Poetry.’ It seemed to me that true poetry was reached only by hatred. Poetry had no powerful meaning except in the violence of revolt. But poetry attains this violence only by invoking the IMPOSSIBLE. Almost no one understood the meaning of the first title, which is why I prefer finally to speak of ‘The Impossible.’ It’s true that this second title is far from being clearer.”

He says, “…if now I think---at this most far away moment of a breakdown, a physical and moral disgust---of the pink tail of a rat in the snow, it seems to share in the intimacy of ‘that which is’; a slight uneasiness clutches my heart. And certainly I know that the immediacy of M., who is dead, was like the tail of a rat, lovely as the tail of a rat! I knew already that the intimacy of things is death… and naturally, NAKEDNESS IS DEATH---and the more truly ‘death’ the lovelier it is!” (Pg. 54)

He observes, “What unimaginable force would my lamentations have had if there were a God? ‘Think about it though. Nothing can escape you now. If God doesn’t exist, this moan, choked back in your solitude, is the extreme limit of the possible: in this sense there is no element of the universe that is not under its power! It is not subject to anything, it dominates everything and yet is formed out of an infinite awareness of impotence: out of a sense of the impossible to be exact!’” (Pg. 78-79)

He states, “I know, I only have to give way to the imperceptible slide of trickery: a slight change and I put an eternal stop to what chilled me: I tremble before God, I raise the desire to tremble to infinity! If human reason (the human limit) is exceeded by the very object to which the limit is given, if E.’s reason succumbs, I can only harmonize with the excess that will destroy me in my turn. But the excess that burns me is the harmony of love within me and I don’t tremble before God, but with love.” (Pg. 100)

He suggests, “It’s funny we’re so unconcerned about this quagmire of sleep. We forget it and don’t see that our unconcern gives our ‘lucid’ airs a mendacious quality. Just now, the slaughterhouse animality of my recent dreams (everything around me disturbed, but delivered over to appeasement) awakens me to the feeling of death’s ‘violation.’ In my view nothing is more precious than the exuberance of rust; nor than a certainty in the sunshine of barely escaping the mildew of the earth. The truth of life cannot be separated from its opposite and if we flee the smell of death, ‘the disorder of the senses’ brings us back to the happiness that is connected with it.” (Pg. 115-116)

This book will be of interest to those studying Bataille.
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on September 13, 2012
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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on March 16, 2012
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. Administrative law has a concept of standing to keep material fetish important in the way disputes are about something more concrete than mere doctrine.

A major problem in the story of a rat is the bond between people who are objects of desire for each other. Imagination can make a lump in the snow come back to life if it has not yet frozen to death. Horror is a basic factor in literary life that makes the Bay of Pigs so typical of why secrets are supposed to be kept locked up tight and creative subjectivity responds most strongly to a self it can adhere to.

American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas

The book American Nietzsche examines ways in which Americans responded to reading Nietzsche. For the founders of the Black Panthers, Nietzsche helped them decide precisely what kind of pigs they should call the cops.
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on November 16, 2003
...in 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
(GUILTY, ON NIETZSCHE, INNER EXPERIENCE)
takes la frigging Cake!
the last coolest Frenchman, 'e wuz!
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on April 26, 1998
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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