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Eroticism. Georges Bataille

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,413 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Taboo and sacrifice, transgression and language, death and sensuality-Georges Bataille pursues these themes with an original, often startling perspective. He challenges any single discourse on the erotic. The scope of his inquiry ranges from Emily Bronte to Sade, from St. Therese to Claude Levi-Strauss and Dr. Kinsey; and the subjects he covers include prostitution, mythic ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published February 1st 1987 by Marion Boyars Publishers (first published 1957)
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Oct 29, 2012 Tyler rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Students of Intellectual History
Shelves: non-fiction
You won’t stick your hand down your bathing suit ever again after reading this. Bataille will see to that. And yet this author's misgivings about the erotic seem somehow misplaced. They serve as springboards to jump off on tangents. Our writer throws in a bunch of psychoanalysis, too, but only insofar as it gets us to the religious take on man’s psychic esoterica.

But first let’s look at what Bataille gets right.

He starts with "continuity," an aspiration that for humans is the essence of being.
Γράφει στην εισαγωγή της Ιστορίας του Ματιού από τις εκδόσεις Άγρα ο Δημήτρης Δημητριάδης:

>> Ο ερωτισμός δεν είναι απελευθέρωση. Ο ερωτισμός είναι μία συμπεριφορά που οδηγεί στα άκρα, δηλαδή στην αγωνία και στην πτώση, στη διακύβευση της ακεραιότητας, στο διασυρμό των αξιών, στην απώλεια, στην παράδοση άνευ όρων στα χέρια της τύχης και στην καταστροφή.

>> Ο ερωτισμός, στην περίπτωση αυτή, παίζει, για τον Μπατάιγ, κεντρικό ρόλο, γιατί ο ερωτισμός είναι απόλυτο κι απεριόριστο ξόδεμα όλω
Ten years after I bought this book, I finally got around to reading it.

The unfortunate thing about this book is that it seems like, other than Story of the Eye, it seems to be what Bataille is most known for. And why is that unfortunate? Because, really, this isn't that good. Using, as many other have commented, wildly outdated anthropological notes/methods, Bataille examines, in a repetitive & often, yes, clunky (though perhaps that is just the translation, there is always that) language on
Employing structuralist-anthropological categories like the taboo and transgression, and existential categories like anguish, nausea and horror, this philosophical work on human sexuality analyzes eroticism in terms of violence, religion and death. In the latter half of the book, Bataille comments on others who have written on human sexuality. For instance, he writes critically of Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior In The Human Male, Volume 2, which came out only three years before Bataille wrote t ...more
A strong thesis that has a lot of resonance for my own thoughts on human experience. It required fairly constant mental editorialising however to filter out the extreme gender bias, the complete ignoring of homosexuality, and a tendency to a high level of repetition. These points aside though, it was a thought provoking read that sought to cut through bourgeoise niceties and stare honestly at sex and death.
Mónica Martínez

Bataille hace un análisis historico para ligar los opuestos, el erotismo y la muerte. Aprendí.. más que de erotismo... un par de cosas aterradoras.


• La fenomenología batailleana del erotismo demuestra que, en su esencia, el erotismo está vinculado con la sangre, que no hay erotismo sin sangre y lo que la sangre simboliza: la muerte. “el erotismo es la aprobación de la vida hasta en la muerte”.
• El erotismo surge de la dialéctica entre lo continuo (ser) y lo discontinuo (el sujeto) que
"Erotism is the affirmation of life, even in death" - Georges Bataille.

Sex and death, the sacred and the profane, the longing for the divine... Bataille mixes philosophy and anthropology to talk about eroticism, touching a wide range of subjects, from human sacrifice and cannibalism to the Christian notion of sin and that which is diabolical. A must read!
Jodi Lu
Here's a book title and cover art that elicit some subway sideways glances if you're into that sort of sexy thing and yet can stomach relatively non-sexy - and sadly, problematic* - theory.

Now that I've read Bataille's fiction, historical non-fiction and theory (and not ever a poem but a quick google search just verified that those exist, upon which I would've bet the quite unproductive farm), I can assume his poetry has merit. He is actually a great writer but I haven't yet read him writing gre
Wandering and banal, Bataille has two novel insights in this book. The first deals with de Sade in a way that altered my perception of the late Marquis. The other discusses the Kinsey reports, both their value and the degree to which they missed the mark about human sexuality. The rest of the book discusses taboo, organized and sanctioned (sanctified) transgressions, and the ties to eroticism. In my first reading, I missed any deep message that he intended and thought that most of his points wer ...more
Robert Costic
His ideas are thought-provoking but ultimately ridiculous. Although he grudgingly admits that there are people who don't think of sex as a taboo, the bulk of his book goes on to describe all sex as a transgression of those selfsame taboos. He also misses the the significance of the Kinsey Reports, which he nevertheless discusses for a good chapter, and considering that this is a book on sexual taboos I'm a bit surprised that he never once discussed homosexuality. In fact, most of his discussion ...more
Brett Green
The whole thing is a wonderful and blasphemous! Someone at the coffee shop asked me who Bataille was and I told him "a religious Nietzsche." Indeed, this is the case. Bataille somehow, fitting in expositions of human sacrifice, sexual violence, incest, and all other kinds of assorted weird ass shit, manages to paint the most beautiful and lascivious portrait of the night one could ever hope for while ultimately reminding us of the necessity of that ray of light of human consciousness for us to e ...more
French philosophy that breaks down taboos, death, and sex. Check it out.

El libro es una obra oscura, difícil de seguir, divida en dos partes: La primera parte es un estudio sobre la prohibición y la transgresión. La segunda parte es un compendio de conferencias que orbitan alrededor del mismo tema.

Posiblemente no entendí nada, tal vez el libro va tan en contra de lo que entiendo por erotismo, que seguramente lo que diga ahora no contribuirá en nada con el análisis del problema erótico. No obstante, con la licencia que me otorga este espacio (mi espacio) intentaré es

Provocerend filosofisch werk dat bij eerste diagonale lezing vrij toegankelijk lijkt, maar al snel uitmondt in een labyrintisch discours dat moeilijk te volgen is. Bataille (1897-1962) was geobsedeerd door taboes, zowel in zijn persoonlijke leven als in zijn teksten, en in zijn oeuvre is het dan ook dood, geweld, seks, verderf en andere vrolijke en perverse materie die de kern uitmaakt. Aanvankelijk werd hij in de armen gesloten door de surrealisten, maar die hadden het duidelijk niet begrepen o ...more
Picked this one cause of the title.
It really caught my attention.
It's my first read for Georges Bataille.
and I really have no idea what to think about it.
It's a Really interesting read.
There were parts that really got me interested, and then came parts that I just wanted to stop reading cause it was just so Dull and repetitive.
The part about De Sade made me do some research about him and plan to get me some of De Sade's books.
Also the part he criticized the Kinsey reports and how they observed
So 276 pages and on the LAST PAGE the author admits that language ultimately fails to describe the experiences he's trying to describe? Die in a fire, man. Die in a fire.

The anthropological theories at the beginning of the book were interesting, but possibly not up to date. The writing is repetitive and...I would say turgid, but it SO isn't. Somehow, what should have been a home run on subject matter was boring. Maybe it was partially a translation issue? Maybe I'm not familiar with the way phil
Contemporary - and, in many ways, antecedent to the post-structuralists who successfully crossed the pond - Bataille's work on death, eroticism, and social structure left discernable traces in Lacan's working of desire and the law and, also, in the Derridean development of deconstruction. Bataille, in a certain sense, might be thought of as an important post-War interlocutor for Nietzsche and De Sade (both of whom, for different reasons, had fallen into disrepute at the time). I'm reading this f ...more
Manuel Alejandro
El argumento que utiliza Bataille en este texto es muy parecido al que utiliza en el libro Las lágrimar de Éros.
Francesco D'Isa
Un incipit notevole: “Dell’erotismo si può dire, innanzitutto, che esso è l’approvazione della vita fin dentro la morte”. L’autore lo dimostra attraverso contorsionismi del pensiero inusuali ma sensati, senza cedere troppo all’(inspiegabile) moda francese di confondere le acque. Alla fine gli dai ragione.
Trama: Dell’erotismo si può dire, innanzitutto, che esso è l’approvazione della vita fin dentro la morte.
Reperibilità: Buona. Non si trova in tutte le librerie ma è sempre ordinabile.
Voto: 80 su
A book that deals with the erotic in an almost medieval way--a sort of Catholic anthropology of the body through sex--despite some relatively modern psychological approaches to such things as orgasms and taboos. Curious and sometimes compelling, the book nevertheless feels unconnected to the lived experience of sexuality. I also think this might be a bad translation, since it often seems convoluted at the level of syntax rather than concept, though it's hard to imagine tracking down the French v ...more
The intro to this book has a lovely poetry to it and is worth re-reading. The book itself aligns taboo with anything counter to reproduction and the labor which is done for survival of the species. So the sacred and the profane are relatives, not opposites, as they do not contribute directly to work and survival. An interesting thought which is sometimes not supported so well by the dated 1950s anthropological research he uses to back up his argument. Worth reading alongside Bataille's literatur ...more
This is a fantastic book. One of Bataille's best, in my opinion. The investigation of early religion and the relationship between religious and sexual experiences sets the stage for an understanding of Bataille's project, its relation to sacrifice and mystical experience. I taught this twice: once for Philosophy & Literature, once as a part of world religions. It completely freaked out the World Religions class. I doubt most people read it in the Philosophy & Lit course.
Dusty Hope
best chapters are the last. sensuality and death. mysticism and eroticism. approached as a social scientist with a specialization in taboo topics, history of human extant relationships with concentration on religious and primitive sexuality, religious taboos, transgressions into violence. some of the sentences go beyond meaning, like bugs dancing around a carcass--If you can get beyond the academics really is somewhat intoxicating.
Dec 22, 2007 Ruben rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bataillistas
i picked this up at a book fair artnoose invited me to in san francisco. was not an easy read, i put it down a many times but always came back to it. it's best if you read something(quite a bit actually) about him first, then you can appreciate his profundity. don't look for a hard-on in this book, but you will find it interesting.
Cate White
"...on the scale of unlimited loss we come again upon the triumph of being--whose only failure has ever been to be in tune with the movement that would have it perishable. Being joins the terrible syncopated dance of its own accord, the dance we must accept for what it is, conscious of the horror it is in key with."
This book could also be subtitled "An empirical model for imagined primal realities" - soooooooo good, in a "kids, don't don't talk all of this literally" sort of way. I think I'll take a pass on the ritual sacrifice, though - this week, at least.
Claudia Marlene
Libro que permite llevar a límite las categorías de análisis del investigador, transgredir los límites propios es una experiencia reveladora de conocimiento, como nos muestra Georges Bataille
I don't think I am going to finish this one soon. I sometimes feel that Bataille's assessments are inaccurate and vague but this may just be my own unfamiliarity with the extent of his brainpower.
I like to think of death as a final sexual act of some sort. There is something so beautiful in the gesture that is totally erotic. Bataille looks in the taboo and finds pleasure.
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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...
Story of the Eye The Accursed Share 1: Consumption Blue of Noon Visions of Excess My Mother/Madame Edwarda/The Dead Man

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“Beauty is desired in order that it may be befouled; not for its own sake, but for the joy brought by the certainty of profaining it.” 61 likes
“There is always some limit which the individual accepts. He identifies this limit with himself. Horror seizes him at the thought that this limit may cease to be. But we are wrong to take this limit and the individual’s acceptance of it seriously. The limit is only there to be overreached. Fear and horror are not the real and final reaction; on the contrary, they are a temptation to overstep the bounds.” 7 likes
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