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My Mother/Madame Edwarda/The Dead Man

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  568 ratings  ·  19 reviews
My Mother is a unique bildungsroman of a young man's sexual initiation and corruption by his mother.?Publishers Weekly

My Mother, Madame Edwarda and The Dead Man comprises three short pieces of erotic prose that fuse elements of sex and spirituality in a highly personal vision of the flesh. They present a world of sensation in which only the vaulting demands of disruptive e
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd (first published January 1st 1977)
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Jan 31, 2015 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: I'm a lovely sight
Recommended to Mariel by: A sinister, a nasty sight
In this lifeless world what else was there for me to do but forget the searing light whose glare had blinded me when I had felt my mother in my arms? But I already knew that it was not going to be forgotten, ever.
- 'My Mother'

Degradation gave birth to him and can take it back. Grunting copulation, squealing pigs meat house. Everybody cries when baby is born. His mother gets further away as the father is further away. Death is over or the sweaty affairs. Don't walk away when I am oozing pain lik
I am a big fan of Georges Bataille's fiction. He borders on the creepy of course, but its his intelligence that is seductive. I wish he was alive now. He's someone I would like to meet and have a cup of coffee with. Would he drink coffee? Yukio Mishima wrote the introduction to this book which is worth the price of the volume.
Re-reading this in its entirety, perhaps for the first time since I got it in August of 2004? I've re-read Madame Edwarda and The Dead Man--and at some point last year I re-read the Ken Hollings essay, but I don't think I'd read My Mother or Mishima's essay since then.


For all its acclaim, this might be the singular example of Bataille's fiction that, in a way, feels bloated to me. Surely an odd thing to say as it only barely breaks 100 pages in the Marion Boyars typesetting, but
Bataille is great. The Dead Man was my favorite in this collection (and it's format on the page is fantastic!) but I think I prefer reading Batailles theoretical works to his fiction--their just so much more sumptuously beautiful.
Chris Hearn
Despite what Mishima might have you believe in the preface, 'My Mother' is the key work here. Highly recommended for a good read to fans of Genet, H Miller, Nin, Breton, Proust, Cendrars (actually pretty much everyone born or relocated to France in the first half of the 20th century), and (obviously) quite interesting to folks with an interest in phil/psych/gender studies etc through the lens of Sade, Freud, Foucault, etc. I enjoyed this more deeply than Story of the Eye, it has greater characte ...more
Bataille is an analyst of the erotic, and in these narratives he explores and exploits the transformative and sometimes destructive power of sex. While his association of violence with eroticism may remind some of the Marquis de Sade, one significant difference between the two writers is that Bataille does not focus as much as de Sade does on representing the details of the sexual act itself; rather, Bataille emphasizes the moral and cultural context in which the sexual act occurs. Moreover, in ...more
Alex Sarll
Bataille was engaged in the sort of terribly *serious* project which seems to come so much more easily to the French, an attempt to sacralise sex - but not in any jolly sense, rather to turn it into the sort of dark, dangerous and unknowable god you find in the work of Lovecraft. Part of me wonders whether the one is the Catholic counterpart to the Puritan-descended other - just as Lovecraft describes squid-like creatures in a way that leaves one fairly confident he has issues with vaginas, so o ...more
Georges Bataille was a highly controversial French writer, and the first of these novelettes, "My Mother," reads fairly easily in the original French ("Ma Mere"). Like all of his work, this is slim book is deeply disturbing. A mother sets out to corrupt her young son. She wants to disabuse him of the notion that she is virtuous and that his now deceased father is the cause of the family's unhappiness. She demands that he love her not as a naive imagination but in all her drunken and sexually pro ...more
2/5 Madame Edwarda, 3/5 The Dead Man
It will never leave my head.
Joel Alexander
My Mother was the gem. Not sure i was able to fully grasp the depth of the other stories. Regardless, Bataille is an inspiring genius that violently and passionately takes on the erotic and grotesque.
Fabulously perverted. Devastating, crawling skin-inducing, and soul crushing. Everything I look for in a good read.
Jonathan Lee B.
My Mother/Madame Edwarda/The Dead Man is a secret handshake you share with your 1-3 friend(s) who have also read it.
Jun 13, 2011 Ixxa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Ixxa by: Joaquín Hurtado
Lo estoy leyendo para mi taller "Pensar en lo marginal" de Joaquín Hurtado.
Jason Anthony
I would give this 10 stars if I could. My Mother sticks out the most.
"Ma Mere" is the gem here. One of the great French novellas.
Jason Napoli
The Dead Man and Madame Edwarda are life-changing pieces of writing.
My Mother

Madame Edwarda

The Dead Man
Tara Newton
hypnotic erotic frolic
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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
More about Georges Bataille...
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“You perhaps now know that desire reduces us to pulp.” 16 likes
“I enjoyed the innocence of unhappiness and of helplessness; could I blame myself for a sin which attracted me, which flooded me with pleasure precisely to the extent it brought me to despair?” 14 likes
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