SECOND READING - AUGUST 30, 2014
Over five years after my initial read, and, as it turns out, literally 2 days before Stuart Kendall's new translation was to come out, I finished a second reading of this. I'm glad I went back, as I understand fully how ill-prepared my first reading of this was. And yes, of course, this time I did read the end notes in tangent with the primary text--some of the, perhaps, most important (to me) ideas get thrown to the end notes.
As time goes on it becomes more and more clear to me that Bataille's somme atheologique is significantly important to me, both for my praxis and my own existence. I will be compiling the underlined fragments from the book into a notebook and reconsidering the whole, working closer, so for now I will leave it at this, though actually considering my notes might result in more to say, as I realize I'm saying very little about this book itself here.
INITIAL READING - MARCH 1, 2009:
This took me a while to read. Theoretically, this is an entire book-length work discussing topics that epitomize what attracts me to Bataille; reaching the impossible, the experience of absolute desire, the "suffering of the disintoxicated." However, I have to admit being a bit let down.
There are fragments throughout that are brilliant; absolutely earth shattering, but as a coherent whole Bataille it suffers lack: the text itself wanders too far into the labyrinthine corridors of Bataille's own inner experience, and the text suffers. At each faulty turn and dead end the read finds himself faced with an unnecessary repetition of something said twenty pages before. I can appreciate rambling, and particularly Bataille's rambling, but there is too much here.
I wonder if this is even a valid critique: I have a feeling that after I get through Guilty I might have a better understanding of the structure of this. I may revise this "review."
I did not read the end notes. The idea of having to keep parallel texts in mind for an already difficult text the first time through struck me as futile. I had tried reading that was at first, but there was even more doubling back & repetition than in the "regular" text for me to be able to follow it. I have a feeling that this is a key text that I will need to revisit in the future, and I have saved the end notes until a second or third reading.