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The Trial of Gilles de Rais
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The Trial of Gilles de Rais

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  196 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Georges Bataille presents the case of the most infamous villain of the Middle Ages: Gilles de Rais. Fascinated with the depths of human experience -- the meeting points of sexuality, violence, ritual, spirituality, and death -- Bataille examines with dispassionate clarity the legendary crimes, trials and confessions of this grotesque and still horrifying 15th-century child ...more
Paperback, 285 pages
Published May 9th 1996 by Amok Books,U.S. (first published 1979)
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Jodi Lu
I give up. I give up because I had to take Gravity's Rainbow to work today instead to get a respite from the torture of reading this book, and Gravity's Rainbow is nothing if not an unnatural respite, and I assure you the aforementioned "torture" had nothing to do with Gilles de Rais, one of the most compelling actual torturers of all time, his perversion and bloodthirst outshining the competition even during the very golden age of outlandish torturing! I braced myself (as one needs to do simila ...more
Tosh
Kind of an early true-crime book, but re-done by the great kink of all kinks, M. Georges Bataille. My friend Stuart (Amok) put this book together and he did an amazing job as a publisher (only another publisher appreciates other publishers). The trial manuscripts read like a combination of a Dennis Cooper novel and a work from a weird part of the brain. Remarkable.
Joel Ortiz-Quintanilla
this is the only book in my entire life that i had to throw away and stop reading it, this book had me dreaming that i was eating people and i was liking it, i woke up the next day and sold the book to get high instead, that is the kind of author bataille is, he gets inside of you and disturbs, the only book, that i had to throw away before i became crazy, yeah, it was okay, the life story of the gilles de rais, very interesting, its funny that le bas is the story of a govt employee who is writi ...more
Grouchung
If you are reading this expecting hardcore lurid horror scenes, or to wallow in the perversity and terror of Gilles de Rais' crimes, this is really not the book for that.

However, I did really enjoy it. There's something interesting in how Bataille tries to delve in to the culture and mindset of that era, of how he tries to navigate around Rais' motives and possible madness. There are descriptions of his crimes which are horrific in themselves, but essentially that is not what this book is about.
...more
Tom Schulte
Reading Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris recalled to me this book by Georges Bataille, for some reason I couldn't place. Then, as the author got into WW II-era philosphers and surrealists and mentioned Bataille, I figured we were on the same wavelength.

Something about clumsy and lethally confused de Rais speaks to the "banality of evil". This book presenting so much unearthed trial transcripts made this horrible monster real and believable, like the police rep
...more
Isidore
Some men find happiness in working on cars while others are content to watch a nice game of footy. But every so often there is a man who can only be satisfied by consuming French children. Such a one was Gilles de Rais.

Sadly, the publishers of this book sort of misrepresent what's to be found within. Besides the lurid blurbs on the back you'll notice that the cover design is the title printed against a background of slightly putrid human flesh. People who slow down to peer at car accidents on th
...more
Benji
May 15, 2009 Benji marked it as to-read
This is about the same guy that Cradle of Filth's latest album is about. He used to rape and sodomise little children in the worst possible way (as if there were a best possible) I do wonder about all this gothic stuff sometimes. He also fought as a commander under Joan of Arc; I am a big fan of St Joan obviously - the warrior virgin of Christ - yummy! I am going to see Cradle of Filth play on the 26th. I am looking forward to the support band just as much. Of course Cradle of Filth are famous f ...more
Virgil S.
The actual trial documents and timeline are an essential asset, but I could do without Bataille's nonsensical rambling, which offers nothing of value.
Neil
This guy was REAL fucked up
Alyssa
While this book is by no means flawless, it does have a solid collection of pieces on the fact and the fiction surrounding Gilles de Rais. I appreciate the patchwork style of it. It appeals to the artist and the historian. The highlights of it are the extensive extract from Bataille's The Trial of Gilles de Rais, Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber, and the otherwise difficult-to-find Tragedy in Blue by Richard Thoma. The book deserves 5 stars just for having these three together.
treus
One would think that a writer like Bataille would have some very interesting things to say about such an infamous murderer, but his essay is only mildly interesting. A short, worthwhile read, but unsatisfying and forgettable.
Chelsea
An interesting topic for those with strong stomachs, but disjointed and poorly done. Worth trudging through if you need the information for a class, but otherwise not a pleasant read.
Daniel
so far, so very bloody good...
Hilary
"where it all vegan"...
Simone
interesting...
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French essayist, philosophical theorist and novelist, often called the "metaphysician of evil." Bataille was interested in sex, death, degradation, and the power and potential of the obscene. He rejected traditional literature and considered that the ultimate aim of all intellectual, artistic, or religious activity should be the annihilation of the rational individual in a violent, transcendental ...more
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