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

(La sonrisa vertical #10)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  16,908 ratings  ·  1,383 reviews
Only Georges Bataille could write, of an eyeball removed from a corpse, that "the caress of the eye over the skin is so utterly, so extraordinarily gentle, and the sensation is so bizarre that it has something of a rooster's horrible crowing." Bataille has been called a "metaphysician of evil," specializing in blasphemy, profanation, and horror.

Story of the Eye, written in
Paperback, 103 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by City Lights Publishers (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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,908 ratings  ·  1,383 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Story of the Eye
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 chara
Aug 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eros, french, fiction
What the hell did I just read? -_-

I have enough trouble digesting genre erotica as it is, but this came out of the blue and hit me like a burning meteor shattering everything of the self-knowledge of my sense of desire. Don’t get me wrong, prude I am not; I love my erotic writing, sexual investigations, the Freudian truths, and sexual fantasies too, speaking of which, this is a twisted sexual fantasy overwhelmed by its own craziness and charged with an assemblage of layered symbolism, wherein a
Paul Bryant
May 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
I am from that laid back generation that liked to tell people to do their own thing and not judge anyone and all that, but if Story of the Eye is your thing then I would like to run quite a long way away from you and never have to speak to you again and I will judge you.

To say it’s rather pervy would be to say the pope is a bit of a Catholic, or that God is really quite potent.

Now, it’s true that pervy erotic porn sounds like some kind of fun, just ask your grandmother, but it turns out it rea
MJ Nicholls
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ian "Marvin" Graye
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/
Barry Pierce
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal rights activists
Read this for my dissertation.
As a narrative, it's somewhat messy. As erotica, it's somewhat depraved.
As a synthesization of Bataille's theories and worldview, it's a treasure trove.
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Goodreads warning for this book, "Warning: Story of the Eye is graphically sexual, and is only suited for adults who are not easily offended. ", and that's a fair warning. But I'll take that warning a step further. If you can finish reading this book and nothing has offended you then it's my opinion that you've missed the point of the book.
I've seen other readers compare this book with works by de Sade ... Bataille writes much better.
Anthony Vacca
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Your typical teenage romance, replete with spontaneous orgasms, golden showers, bull testicles, eggs inserted into orifices that eggs are not meant to be inserted, suicide, rape, sacrilege, eroticizing eyeballs, bullfighting and murder. Your body is a temple of filth and sex is slimy, you perverted reader, you.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“And it struck me that death was the sole outcome of my erection, and if Simone and I were killed, then the universe of our unbearable personal vision was certain to be replaced by the pure stars, fully unrelated to any external gaze and realizing in a cold state, without human delays or detours, something that strikes me as the goal of my sexual licentiousness: a geometric incandescence (among other things, the coinciding point of life and death, being and nothingness), perfectly fulgur
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 a rare, exciting and disturbing 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; but t
Printable Tire
Apr 14, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
The Marquis de Sade resurrected in the 20th century - what's the point of that?

I am not always lucky with my random secondhand bookstore picks, but in this case I am honestly at a loss for words. What is the purpose of showing random acts of base sexuality (nothing erotic, just mechanical sadomasochistic behaviour) combined with atrocious violence? There is nothing else to the story, so it gets very repetitive despite its brevity (which is the only thing that positively distinguishes it from Sa
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. ...more
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
Henry Martin
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 r
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 30, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bitchin
Until recently I didn’t think that I was boring in bed. Or that I lacked imagination and a willingness to experiment. I have my preferences, yes, but I liked to believe that I was fairly open minded. However, when I started speaking to more and more people about sex, women mostly, I was shocked to discover that many acts that were not on my sexual radar [although I was aware of them, of course] were common fantasies and, it seems, were regularly being performed. Slapping and choking, for example ...more
Melissa Ski
Apr 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
The text is redeeming, but not in a transcendental way. The moral lacks morality- and as you'll read elsewhere- acts as a precursor to existentialism. My literary friend recommends Emmannuelle by Emmannuelle Arsan as a starting point if not a follow-up to this type of reading. Here's to the dionysian! I'd recommend Caligula as well and then we can have a lecture on sexual disfunctions and decadence! ...more
Jul 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
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
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Absolutely insane and incredibly erotic. A fun read

Also, a messy and somewhat noisy video review :p
Nate D
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Georges Bataille’s 1928 novella Story of the Eye has often been read for the graphic details of an increasingly inexplicable adventures of a pair of teenagers and their sexual perversions. Narrated by an unnamed male in his late teens, the book tells the story of his passionate affair with Simone, his primary partner. Throughout the book their relationship involves other people including a mentally ill sixteen year-old girl and a voyeuristic English émigré aristocrat. To say this book is risqué ...more
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! ...more
Paul O'Neill
May 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
What. Da. Fuq. Did. I. Just. Read...????

Don't pick up this book unless you're a fan of golden showers... I started reading this without reading the blurb or anything, suffice to say I was shocked!

In between rather gruesome goings on the writer tries to make himself seem uber intelligent by using needlessly long words.

It was just a big clustermug that boiled my brain! Could've been a good tail, but it just fell off a cliff.

First one star rating of 2016. :(
Khashayar Mohammadi
I'm a huge fan of Sade's, so when a friend recommended this to me I snatched it from a bookstore the first chance I got.

There are some redeeming qualities. The book revolves heavily on fiercely French ideals set by Sade, and though through some mild analysis some genuinely interesting ideas might worm though, I feel the book mainly fails in conveyance. Maybe I'm harsh on this book because I'm comparing it so closely to Sade and his overly explicit way of philosophizing (which most would argue i
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Literati: Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille 7 19 Oct 24, 2017 08:02PM  
Reading 1001: Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille 2 4 Dec 30, 2016 09:25PM  
The Literati: Story of the Eye 4 13 Jun 01, 2016 06:29AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (An Essay in Atheistic Religion)
  • Venus in Furs
  • Maldoror and the Complete Works
  • The 120 Days of Sodom
  • Les Chants de Maldoror
  • The Torture Garden
  • Irene's Cunt
  • Crash
  • Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings, 1987-2007
  • Água Viva
  • Death Sentence
  • Amygdalatropolis
  • Confessions of a Mask
  • The Peregrine
  • The Necrophiliac
  • Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?
  • The Book of Monelle
  • Philosophy in the Boudoir
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

La sonrisa vertical (2 books)
  • La insólita y gloriosa hazaña del cipote de Archidona
  • Deu pometes té el pomer

News & Interviews

Readers have a lot to look forward to this year! Just feast your eyes upon all of these debut books to check out and emerging authors to...
170 likes · 44 comments
“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.”
“Extreme seductiveness is at the boundary of horror” 85 likes
More quotes…