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Georges Batailles Story Of The Eye 14


Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye 14: A Journey into the Dark Side of Desire




Georges Bataille was a French writer and philosopher who explored the themes of eroticism, transgression, and death in his works. He is best known for his novella Story of the Eye, which was published in 1928 and caused a scandal for its graphic depiction of sexual perversions and violence.




georges batailles story of the eye 14


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Story of the Eye is narrated by an unnamed young man who recounts his increasingly bizarre and depraved sexual relationship with his cousin Simone. The pair involve their friend Marcelle in their activities, but she suffers a mental breakdown and commits suicide. The couple then flee to Spain, where they meet Sir Edmund, an English aristocrat who shares their taste for the extreme. Together, they embark on a series of blasphemous and murderous acts, culminating in the death of a priest and the mutilation of his eye.


The novella consists of 14 chapters, each one describing a different episode in the narrator's life. The chapters are not chronological, but rather follow a logic of association and contrast. The novella is full of symbolism and references to various cultural and historical figures, such as the Marquis de Sade, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dali, and Joan of Arc.


Story of the Eye is not only a shocking and provocative work of literature, but also a philosophical exploration of the nature of desire, morality, and the human condition. Bataille challenges the reader to confront the limits of rationality and morality, and to experience the sublime and the sacred in the most profane and abject aspects of existence.


Story of the Eye has been widely influential and controversial in the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. It has inspired many adaptations and interpretations, such as films by Luis Buñuel and John Waters, paintings by Salvador Dali and Francis Bacon, and essays by Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes. It has also been banned and censored in many countries for its explicit and disturbing content.


Some critics have praised Story of the Eye as a masterpiece of erotic literature and a radical expression of human freedom and creativity. Others have condemned it as a perverse and nihilistic work that glorifies violence and obscenity. Bataille himself described his novella as a "madman's diary" and a "sacrificial act" that aimed to reveal the hidden aspects of existence that are usually repressed by society and culture.


Whether one views Story of the Eye as a work of art or a work of madness, it is undeniable that it is a unique and powerful exploration of the human psyche and its relation to the world. It challenges the reader to question their own assumptions and values, and to confront the dark side of desire that lurks within us all.


Story of the Eye can be seen as a reflection of Bataille's personal and intellectual interests and influences. Bataille was fascinated by the concepts of excess, limit, and transgression, which he explored in his writings on philosophy, religion, economics, and politics. He was also influenced by the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and the Marquis de Sade, as well as by his own experiences with psychoanalysis, surrealism, and eroticism.


Bataille's style of writing is characterized by a mixture of poetic language, philosophical analysis, and graphic imagery. He uses metaphors and symbols to create a complex and ambiguous network of meanings and associations. He also employs humor, irony, and paradox to challenge the reader's expectations and assumptions. He often breaks the conventions of narrative structure and coherence, creating a sense of fragmentation and discontinuity.


Story of the Eye is not a realistic or naturalistic representation of human sexuality, but rather a symbolic and allegorical expression of Bataille's vision of the world. He uses the eye as a central motif to represent the dual nature of human existence: the eye is both a source of vision and knowledge, and a vulnerable and fragile organ that can be easily destroyed. The eye also symbolizes the link between the physical and the spiritual, the individual and the collective, the human and the divine.


Story of the Eye can also be understood as a critique of the modern society and culture that Bataille lived in. Bataille was dissatisfied with the rationalism, materialism, and individualism that dominated the Western civilization in the 20th century. He saw these values as leading to a loss of meaning, passion, and community. He also opposed the oppressive and repressive forces of religion, morality, and law that tried to control and regulate human behavior and desire.


Bataille sought to create a new form of culture and community that would be based on the principles of excess, limitlessness, and transgression. He called this culture "the sacred", which he defined as "the opposite of the profane". The sacred was not a religious or moral concept, but rather a way of experiencing the world that transcended the ordinary and mundane. The sacred involved a radical transformation of oneself and one's relation to others, through acts of violence, sacrifice, eroticism, and laughter.


Story of the Eye is an example of Bataille's attempt to create a sacred culture through literature. He uses the eye as a symbol of the sacred, as it represents both the possibility of vision and knowledge, and the risk of destruction and blindness. He also uses the eye as a way of connecting the physical and the spiritual, the individual and the collective, the human and the divine. By removing, mutilating, and exchanging eyes, Bataille's characters seek to achieve a state of ecstasy and communion that transcends their ordinary existence.


Story of the Eye has also been interpreted as a manifestation of Bataille's personal and psychological issues and traumas. Bataille had a troubled childhood and adolescence, marked by the death of his father, who suffered from syphilis and blindness, and his own struggles with tuberculosis and impotence. He also had a complex and conflicted relationship with his mother, who was both protective and abusive. Some critics have suggested that Bataille's obsession with the eye, the father figure, and the maternal figure in his novella are expressions of his unresolved Oedipal complex and his desire to escape from his family and society.


Bataille's sexuality was also a source of anxiety and conflict for him. He was married twice, but he also had numerous affairs and experimented with various forms of eroticism, such as sadomasochism, voyeurism, exhibitionism, and fetishism. He was especially attracted to women who were mentally unstable or suicidal, such as Laurence Labadie and Colette Peignot. He also had a homosexual relationship with the philosopher Michel Leiris, who was one of his closest friends and collaborators. Bataille's novella can be seen as a way of exploring and expressing his sexual fantasies and frustrations.


Story of the Eye is not a simple or straightforward work of literature, but rather a complex and multifaceted one. It can be read on different levels and from different perspectives, depending on the reader's background, interests, and expectations. It can be seen as a work of art or a work of madness, a work of philosophy or a work of pornography, a work of fiction or a work of autobiography. It can also be seen as a challenge and an invitation to the reader to question their own views and values, and to experience the world in a new and different way.


Story of the Eye has also been compared and contrasted with other works of erotic literature, such as Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, The Story of O by Pauline Réage, and Justine by the Marquis de Sade. These works share some common elements, such as the use of an unreliable narrator, the exploration of taboo and forbidden themes, and the challenge to the conventional notions of morality and aesthetics. However, they also differ in their tone, style, and purpose. While Nabokov and Réage use irony and subtlety to create a distance between the reader and the narrator, Bataille uses intensity and excess to create a shock and a fascination. While Sade uses logic and rationality to justify his characters' actions, Bataille uses irrationality and absurdity to undermine them.


Story of the Eye is not a typical or representative work of erotic literature, but rather a unique and original one. It does not aim to arouse or please the reader, but rather to disturb and provoke them. It does not follow the conventions or expectations of the genre, but rather subverts and transcends them. It does not offer a clear or coherent message or meaning, but rather opens up a space for multiple and contradictory interpretations. It is a work that defies classification and categorization, and that challenges the boundaries between literature and philosophy, art and madness, fiction and reality.


Story of the Eye has also been analyzed and criticized from various theoretical and ideological perspectives, such as psychoanalysis, feminism, postmodernism, and postcolonialism. These perspectives have offered different insights and evaluations of Bataille's novella, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses, its potentials and limitations, its implications and consequences. Some of these perspectives are:


  • Psychoanalysis: This perspective focuses on the psychological and unconscious aspects of Bataille's novella, such as the Oedipal complex, the death drive, the fetishism, and the sublimation. It also explores the connections between Bataille's personal life and his literary work, as well as the influence of Freud and Lacan on his thought.



  • Feminism: This perspective focuses on the gender and sexual aspects of Bataille's novella, such as the representation and role of women, the power dynamics and violence between men and women, and the critique and subversion of patriarchy and phallocentrism. It also examines the feminist responses and reactions to Bataille's novella, both positive and negative.



  • Postmodernism: This perspective focuses on the aesthetic and linguistic aspects of Bataille's novella, such as the intertextuality, the parody, the irony, and the ambiguity. It also considers the novella as a challenge and a response to the modernist notions of rationality, morality, and representation.



  • Postcolonialism: This perspective focuses on the cultural and political aspects of Bataille's novella, such as the representation and role of non-Western cultures, the critique and subversion of colonialism and orientalism, and the exploration and appropriation of exoticism and alterity. It also questions the ethical and ideological implications of Bataille's novella in relation to the historical and contemporary contexts of globalization and multiculturalism.



Conclusion




Story of the Eye is a remarkable and controversial work of literature that has fascinated and shocked readers for decades. It is a work that defies easy categorization and interpretation, and that invites multiple and contradictory readings. It is a work that challenges the reader to question their own views and values, and to experience the world in a new and different way.


Bataille's novella is not only a shocking and provocative work of erotic literature, but also a philosophical exploration of the nature of desire, morality, and the human condition. Bataille challenges the reader to confront the limits of rationality and morality, and to experience the sublime and the sacred in the most profane and abject aspects of existence.


Whether one views Story of the Eye as a masterpiece or a monstrosity, as a work of art or a work of madness, as a work of fiction or a work of autobiography, it is undeniable that it is a unique and powerful expression of human freedom and creativity. d282676c82


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