Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Story of the Eye” as Want to Read:
Story of the Eye
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Story of the Eye

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,585 Ratings  ·  748 Reviews
Bataille's first novel, published under the pseudonym 'Lord Auch', is still his most notorious work. In this explicit pornographic fantasy, the young male narrator and his lovers Simone and Marcelle embark on a sexual quest involving sadism, torture, orgies, madness and defilement, culminating in a final act of transgression. Shocking and sacrilegious, Story of the Eye is ...more
Paperback, 127 pages
Published April 26th 2001 by Penguin Classics (first published 1928)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Story of the Eye, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Story of the Eye

Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig WittgensteinThe Society of the Spectacle by Guy DebordIf I Ran the Zoo by Dr. SeussThe Spider and the Fly by Mary HowittI Wish That I Had Duck Feet by Dr. Seuss
Books with 5,001 - 10,000 Ratings
114th out of 146 books — 10 voters
The Color Purple by Alice WalkerThe Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam by Omar KhayyámThe White Castle by Orhan PamukChildren of the Alley by Naguib MahfouzVolverás a Región by Juan Benet
Best Literature
72nd out of 110 books — 6 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
mark monday
 photo 1_zpsdz1usj64.jpg


 photo 2_zpsfxtxcl4j.gif

take the sex act and strip away the burden of reality and what do you have?

take two characters and make them fuck. you are the author and they are your puppets. they will do anything you want. does fucking equal life? can fucking be a form of transgression? so be it, make it so. add another character. a menage! subtract that character, the poor thing. have your characters fuck right next to her cold hanging corpse. they are fucking death! add another character,
Ian Not His Real Name
On Pornography

"The question is not whether pornography, but the quality of the pornography."

Paul Goodman

Pornography is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal.

I wonder why it is such a big no-no with some people. What are they thinking? What do they want us to think?

* Pornography is evil/ immoral/ naughty, because sexual arousal is evil/ immoral/ naughty?

* Alternatively, sexual arousal is OK, but the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter is evil/
MJ Nicholls
Jan 30, 2012 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it
Recommended to MJ by: Jasmine
The last orgy I attended was in Dundee. I turned up two minutes late, improperly dressed (my gimp mask hadn’t been drycleaned in time), and offended the host by complimenting him on his lovely breasts, and even more cracking vagina. I was told to gently lube the testicles of a history teacher for the first romp—clearly the host was furious with me, as the history teacher was my own father—then invited over for a little frottage against the pelvis of a divorced Cher impersonator. She sang ‘Gypsie ...more
Printable Tire
Dec 06, 2008 Printable Tire rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: perverts. idiots.
This book was unabashedly, humiliatingly retarded. It's the kind of book that's so famous and then you read it and wonder if someone is pulling a practical joke on you.

I've read better fanfic porn.
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 19, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
This may be a short read: a novella composed of only 103 pages of letters printed using big font. Definitely a short read. However, it is full-packed with explicit and sickening sex scenes so this is not for readers who are squeamish when it comes to sex. Also, this is not a book to titillate readers. The sex scenes are so disgusting I did not feel anything that made we want to have sex.

Rather, the internal stirring I had while reading this came due to George Bataille's (1897-1962) deep philoso
Sick, disgusting and kinky but never boring. It certainly makes an impression. But if it were to be any longer I would start chucking off the stars. Lucky for Mr. Bataille that he kept the story short and writing up to standards. I'm sure if you try hard you could find some social commentary in there and a few metaphors, but it takes an effort to look beyond all the fetish and gore. Besides lewdness itself makes a point here.
Apr 30, 2008 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is obscene and fantastic. It's a very short read, and if you can divorce the pornographic content from the subject matter- you'll end up in a world of symbolism and psychological return from the likes of William Golding. If you're the kind of person who likes to take a book apart and analyze the text- this one's for you. But if you read for narrative pleasure you should run in the other direction.

The short of it is an unnamed narrator outlines his sexual exploits with his peers in th
I don’t mind bizarre lewdness or surreal disgusting situations. Nonchalant mentions of a rape or a crime, in the same manner one would mention their coffee was a bit too cold in the morning don’t shock me as much as they probably should. Crack however many eggs you want between your buttocks and urinate on various surfaces in any number of positions. I’ll remain impassible. Piss down your leg, on your mother, in a priest’s nostrils, on your clothes, on mannequins, on any surface imaginable. If y ...more
Oct 01, 2007 Baiocco rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone Who Thinks A Girl Sitting In A Saucer of Milk Is A Deeply Erotic Image
Shelves: fiction
Every once in a while I have to read something dirty, lusty and depraved--I don't know what it is about me, but it's necessary. And I don't really mind. And I don't feel dirty afterwards, but rather refreshed actually. So there.

George Bataille, besides beind the lliterary executor to Walter Benjamin's controversial (he was a Jew facing persecution from Nazis during World War II) manuscript for his lifelong masterpiece The Arcades Project, was a total degenerate, sensualist scumbag and The Story
Nate D
Feb 22, 2016 Nate D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: seaside vacation reading
Recommended to Nate D by: the occultism of memory
So I finally read this. I don't really care about porn because porn is boring and utilitarian (and that utility is quite limited at that). Then why was I able to enjoy this? Because though it's pornographic, it's not really porn. Bataille uses that vocabulary to carry out something more ambitious and ambiguous.

The sex acts here rarely involve intercourse, instead enumerating some elaborate convergent alchemy. Blood, milk, semen, eggs, and urine are gradually converted into the eye, the eye, the
Henry Martin
Apr 01, 2016 Henry Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most bizarre books I have ever read, The Story of the Eye kept me torn as I kept turning the pages. Torn whether to repulse or whether to admit excitement.

This book was unlike anything I had read, vividly graphic and subtly gross, yet engaging and literary at the same time.

Is it pornography? Undoubtedly yes, but it is also a romance, a dark, twisted, forbidden romance with an ending I could not imagine in my wildest dreams.

Update 04/01/2016

I just completed a second, more thorough re
Jun 10, 2011 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah, Bataille puts Freud to shame in the myriad ways he explores the connections between sex and death in man's mind...Some people have complained that the characters are underdeveloped - if one reads the postscript about Bataille's father, you begin to see that it is intentional. Characters are symbols, symbols are characters, and the whole story is a kaleidoscope of psychological 'isms, and has less to do with sex (if you're looking for good porn, look elsewhere) than to do with having the read ...more
Sep 03, 2007 Nico rated it it was amazing
I read those first few pages standing in the doorway of City Lights bookshop when I was nineteen before heading across to Specs for a whiskey. The memory of the milk and the cupboard has never left me. R and I used to read it to each other in drunken revelry walking down Columbus Avenue, delirious to be alive, ecstatic that someone was going—or rather had gone—much further than we ever thought possible. Kundera writes that a work of art does not necessarily "progress" like sciece does, but inste ...more
May 23, 2016 Chris_P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crazy, sick, juvenile, blasphemous, insane, refreshing, spontaneous, disgusting, a spit in the face of conservatism.

At first I intended to write a proper review but then I realized how hard a task that would be, so humor me and pretend I adequately described it.
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
So far, what have humans done to the written language? You may know genres and sub-genres, but there are written works which can't snugly fit into these categories so you must invent some for them. I suspect that there are these hidden, latent categories in the 1001 books list. Like those which some would place under the category "unreadable, " or "modernist nonsense," or "insomniac pills." So you imagine the editors of the list discussing among themselves which works best exemplify the unreadab ...more
Sep 24, 2009 Lauryl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Angela Carter, in an essay about Story of the Eye, once said that the French seem to delight so much in shocking the English that they barely take time to notice that the English aren't really all that shocked. Being an American, I can't really know how right she was, but I definitely think that, in a few deft strokes, she captured the guiding spirit of this book.

The problem with "pornography" as literature or art, or even as comedy, is that any criticism one raises to it will be seen by its adv
Oct 06, 2008 Mr. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
George Bataille's brief Sade-esque novella is a mordantly brilliant dip into the post-Nietzschen world modernity. The Story of the Eye is a pornographic disintegration of the Western ethical code. It is both magnificent and foul; a more daring and original work than his later philosophy/anthropology. A seminal piece of 20th century literature; although it was published well before the cultural abominations of our current nihilism, we are still not ready for this bleak and punkish work of literar ...more
César Lasso
Apr 07, 2016 César Lasso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pornographic, surreal, existential.
May 03, 2015 Hanaa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Absolutely insane and incredibly erotic. A fun read

Also, a messy and somewhat noisy video review :p
Mar 09, 2008 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book can be read in about 30 minutes. Sadly, I imagine it must have taken slightly longer to write. The same things happen over and over, which you’d imagine wouldn’t be such a bother since the previous book I read was ‘Replay’ by Ken Grimwood, except in Story of the Eye the scenes aren’t particularly moving, interesting, or even necessary. Come to think of it, Story of the Eye pretty much sucked.

I got this based on some online recommendations; some dude on Amazon had a ‘Listmania’ entry
If you felt scandalized by Fifty Shades of Grey or Wetlands you should not even consider reading this book: this is the most obscene and perverse thing I ever read. And it was published in 1928! I guess only a French writer can publish something like this and even use a style which makes the book worth reading. I can't really say I'm shocked by the book, but I'm definitely fascinated. I feel very voyeuristic right now!
Jan 23, 2011 Nathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-fiction
Another from Rowan Somerville's Guardian list of best sex writing. Another disaster. He described it as:
Unnerving, delicious, completely wrong, provocative, unbridled, surreal, graphically erotic, boundless and imaginative, indulgent and beautiful. What more can I say?

What more to say? What more to say? How about "it is shit"? How about "the best part of this tedious wankstain is that it is short"?

Bataille was a French existentialist who tossed this pustulent ejaculation off to prove his Bohemia
Apr 22, 2012 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: erotica
I like Story of the Eye.


After our Jane Eyre book discussion last night, Jzhun showed me this book. I read the first three paragraphs then decided to borrow it from him.

Once finished, I could not comprehend the Story of the Eye. Or is this really something for comprehension? The sexual deviations of the narrator, Simone, and Marcelle was very intriguing. But in the end, what was the cause or reason for such actions?

and yes, i was offended by the sacrilege done within the church.

so, what did
Mirvan  Ereon
This book is unforgettable. I cannot help but rave about it to anyone who cares to listen. This is very eloquently done and the violence and gore in this is strangely erotic and well-written. This may not be for all people but the strange pull of this book to me and to anyone who cares to read it will surely make you weirdly disgusted at yourself for actually liking or even falling in love with this work.

One of the best novels I have read in a while. I would love to read more of this great auth
Oct 02, 2015 Myles rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever discovered something obscene and smiled, ashamed because you’re in public and what you’ve found is so obviously meant for the bedroom, the bath, for anywhere but here? I have perhaps too often seen what’s not meant for me: florid Valentine’s Day sexts on the Kyoto Metro, an elderly woman soiling herself in a hallway in Boston where the Museum of Fine Arts displays its Flemish etchings. Bataille gives us an anthology of these encounters— encyclopedic in their range, boundless in the ...more
Anita Dalton
It seems unfair for me to completely dismiss Story of the Eye as an enormous turd polished to a sheen by specious intellectualism. I loathe the inverse of this attitude when applied to the books I love. For example, I frequently get a DIAF feeling when I think of Harold Bloom's contemptuous and elitist dismissal of Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, the latter whom he seems to dislike simply because of what he considers her overuse of em-dashes. But it is my opinion that only a critic could find muc ...more
Jul 06, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the brave
This book is filthy, and not in the fun way. This is the most disturbing book I've ever read. It is as offensive as you can get, save for maybe incest, but even that wouldn't be too out of place in this book. It is 85 pages of fornication, masturbation, urinating, and something gross involving eggs and eyes. It's anything BUT erotic.

However, I couldn't put this book down, as much as I may have wanted to. It's the second half of the book that gets the most disturbing, but it also makes the most s
Apr 19, 2015 Mizuki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recently I have been thinking, why would people always think about leather, whip, D&S and women being tied up when they think about sexual deviancy?

That is so not the whole picture, and the stereotype from above is just so...boring.

When you open Story of the Eye, you are in for an exciting, disturbing and rare treat. The story is one hell of an 'over the top' adventure of sexual deviancy and anarchy. In this story, sexual pleasure and desire comes into play in some of the most unusual ways;
Jan 21, 2008 Beverly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: To readers/writers stuck in a rut.
Recommended to Beverly by: Faith Wilding
Bataille's masterpiece, a genius of eloquent pornographic imagery, so that one's disgust is coupled with desire. I never read anything so appalling and enthralling at the same time. A literary work that parallels Bosch's paintings where vivid color draws the eye into close range with the unspeakable horror of forms. Bataille accomplishes the same with words in this book. So intense are the references that I guarantee you will never see an egg in the same way again, nor will you write anything in ...more

Not really a fan of transgressive fiction, but this one gets points for creativity. I had no idea that those body parts could be used in those ways.

Don't read while eating.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Torture Garden
  • Irene's Cunt
  • Maldoror and the Complete Works
  • Dark Spring
  • Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom, and Other Writings
  • Frisk
  • Mount Analogue
  • Moravagine
  • Là-Bas (Down There)
  • Death Sentence
  • The Maimed
  • Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician
  • Selected Writings
  • Locus Solus
  • Hell
  • Nadja
  • Venus in Furs
  • Pig Tales: A Novel of Lust and Transformation
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...

Share This Book

“To others, the universe seems decent because decent people have gelded eyes. That is why they fear lewdness. They are never frightened by the crowing of a rooster or when strolling under a starry heaven. In general, people savor the "pleasures of the flesh" only on condition that they be insipid.
But as of then, no doubt existed for me: I did not care for what is known as "pleasures of the flesh" because they really are insipid; I cared only for what is classified as "dirty." On the other hand, I was not even satisfied with the usual debauchery, because the only thing it dirties is debauchery itself, while, in some way or other, anything sublime and perfectly pure is left intact by it. My kind of debauchery soils not only my body and my thoughts, but also anything I may conceive in its course, that is to say, the vast starry universe, which merely serves as a backdrop.”
“We did not lack modesty—on the contrary—but something urgently drove us to defy modesty together as immodestly as possible.” 21 likes
More quotes…