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L'Abbé C

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3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  358 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Told in a series of first-person accounts, L'Abbé C is a startling narrative about the intense and terrifying relationship between twin brothers. Charles is a modern libertine, dedicated to vice and depravity, while Robert is a priest so devout that he is nicknamed L'Abbé'. When the sexually wild Eponine intrudes upon their suffocating relationship, anguish, delirium, and ...more
Paperback, 158 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd (first published 1950)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,061)
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Tony
I couldn't spoil this plot if I tried. I would have to find the plot first. Although I found part of it which I will render as a multiple choice test.

Who left the load under the window while Charles and Eponine were having unspecified sex?

a) The priest.

b) The butcher.

c) Both of the above.

d) None of the above.

Sorry, but, well, I prefer my allegories to be not quite so shitty.

Everybody except an unnamed 'Editor' dies, but not in any cool, shocking or even interesting manner. Like the sex, it is u
...more
Of_the_muse
For those who fully commit themselves to the depths of L'abbe C,
a vexing paradox arises: the necessity of verbalizing a profound
experience and the impossibility of ever giving such profundity
a justifiable expression. Undoubtedly, L'abbe C was Bataille's compromise.
Unlike The Story of the Eye, this novel examines the links between religious and spiritual ecstasy more comparatively than subversively. As Robert's pious solitude erupts into a desire to satisfy his flesh, Charles' debauchery slowly
...more
Chortle
Jan 23, 2012 Chortle rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Poets
Shelves: fiction
Generous 4 stars. It is better read by poets and should not be ignored because the language and descriptions are very wonderful and why I'm giving the 4 instead of the 3.
Over my head, I probably understood half of the book, maybe a quarter of the book.

The characters are philosophically obsessed drama queens. Over and over again: always ill at ease, uncomfortable, questioning their morality , thinking about death, being sick, or dying. The descriptions of their angst ridden conditions is poetic,
...more
Aileen
I found this tale of twin brothers very dark. Charles, seeking his pleasure and Robert the sombre priest seemed to me to be hell-bent on destroying each other in a version of the eternal triangle. Charles met with Eponine, the young prostitute the men had known since childhood, at every chance he could find but she was determined to bed Robert, who in turn was obsessed by her but tormented by illness and his religion. An un-named narrator who is the friend of Charles is given the task of publish ...more
Jennifer
A short, somewhat overwrought account of two brothers--Charles the libertine, and Robert the priest, and the woman (Eponine) who comes between them. Bataille was a strange figure in the French art and literature movement, and L'Abbe C is complete with a homoerotic tension between the twin brothers, and an underlying theme that sometimes those who are the most pristine externally harbor the most twisted perversions internally. This novella, although published in 1950, treats many of the themes th ...more
Saxon
L'abbe C is Bataille's first novel and you can somewhat tell. Underlying philosophical themes of the novel tend to steer the story too much and Bataille seems stuck between surrealist tendencies and developing realistic characters whom he can utilize to make commentary on the human condition. That being said, this book is infectiously dark and eerie. A story about a brother attempting to make his twin brother who is a priest sleep with his favorite whore is enough to make me like it enough. A fr ...more
Laurel
About two-thirds of the way through, I finally started to understand what was happening, and the postscript made it seem a worthwhile read. One day I should probably re-read it knowing the outcome, but it'll be a long time before I undertake that goal. It's definitely a bit over my head.
Zachary Mclean
I thought this story was very hard to follow as the author seemed to bounce back and forth from his own thoughts to one characters thoughts to anothers. It was, however, philosophically shocking and thus recommended since what doesn't kill us, only makes us stronger.
Inez Parra
the only reason this book gets three instead of four stars is because it left me more frustrated than i was prepared to be. we wandered in circles until i was dizzy and uncertain of who felt love and who was just plain out of their heads...but i suppose this is life.
Jeff
I'm sure if I devoted more time to the novel, I would find much more that was interesting and compelling in the narrative and what Batailles is trying to get at here. The book seems to lend itself to a psychoanalytic reading...Jungian with Charles and Robert representing animus and anima (or maybe Charles representing animus and Eponine representing anima) or a Freudian reading with the brothers representing id and superego. The two novels by Batailles that I have read seem to carry a great deal ...more
Lysergius
A most strange work. Not quite sure what he was trying to say. The language is rich and sonorous, the themes - the corruption of man and woman. Sartre says that Bataille has survived the death of God, I am not so sure.
Jonathan
With angstful, adjective-heavy, sophmoric descriptions like "bilious nuns and slovenly maids" on every page, this book is no "Story of the Eye." Don't waste your time.
Scott Gillespie
At page 117 I closed this dreary book.
Rhys
I was disappointed by this novel. I might as well get that out in the open immediately. However, I do realise that it’s an important work and that Bataille’s ideas, themes and concerns are of the highest quality. *L'Abbé C* is fundamentally about the fatal aspects of utter sincerity. The story is a parody of fin de siècle ‘decadent’ novels: two brothers, twins, one of whom is a paragon of virtue, the other a depraved hedonist, are both corrupted by a woman in different ways. Bataille’s intensity ...more
Sean Homrig
Whoa. Sex, death, disparity, and guilt, all wrapped up in less than 160 pages. The story is told poetically, although I admit my mind wandered a bit, as reading this was akin to trying an exotic cuisine for the first time; I'll need to try it again for my untrained palette to really appreciate it. There should, however, be some sort of warning label on the cover about reading this when one is depressed.
Nandini Pradeep J
At once, it is compelling fiction and an analysis of the human mind. Till the very end, you're left wondering what it is that Charles is trying to not say about his brother..Does he really not? What it is that he decides to leave incomplete.. At what point do you give up.. so on and so forth... L'Abbe C makes me want to go back and read Story of the Eye once more.
Craig
"I have in my mind an obscenity so great that I could vomit the most dreadful words and it wouldn't be enough"

Bataille spews less than what most might view as obscene saying more in spartan texts fluid gushing evocation. Scatters of truth slide languidly down the wall post bursts of anguish sidled with emotional gore.
Ignė Sutemos
Gyvenimo vertinimas turi prasmę tik tada, kai išklausoma nuomonė to, kuris kalbėjo paskutinis, ir protas nevaržomas tik tada, kai visi vienu metu šaukia ir vienas kito negirdi.
Anton
A book seller approached me on a train headed to Sevastopol with a knife and the words "This book is distilled poison."
Hana
Mar 19, 2014 Hana added it
The imagery Bataille conjures is dark and grotesque and you cannot pull away.
Donald Travis
I have never read a more erotic novel that no overt sex scenes. For this alone, this novel merits the three stars. This is not to say that the book is not maddening and manipulative...boy, is it. Many will simply feel jipped, others(as you can see) felt hypnotized...like someone that you follow around all day because youve convinced yourself that at the end of the day there will be a payoff. Don't look for a payoff here, you'll just get angry. Instead, revel in the mastery of the journey...so bi ...more
Tosh
I have a thing for twins, and this novel by Bataille is the ultimate 'twins' story. Erotica that is almost revolutionary.
Lisa
Interesting. Not his best.
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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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