Read Literature and Evil by Georges Bataille Alastair Hamilton Online


'Literature is not innocent,' stated Georges Bataille in this extraordinary 1957 collection of essays, arguing that only by acknowledging its complicity with the knowledge of evil can literature communicate fully and intensely. These literary profiles of eight authors and their work, including Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal and the writing'Literature is not innocent,' stated Georges Bataille in this extraordinary 1957 collection of essays, arguing that only by acknowledging its complicity with the knowledge of evil can literature communicate fully and intensely. These literary profiles of eight authors and their work, including Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal and the writings of Sade, Kafka and Sartre, explore subjects such as violence, eroticism, childhood, myth and transgression, in a work of rich allusion and powerful argument....

Title : Literature and Evil
Author :
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ISBN : 9780141195575
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Literature and Evil Reviews

  • Adriana Scarpin
    2019-05-03 20:58

    A primeira parte fala sobre Emily Bronte, de como O Morro dos ventos uivantes é um romance de expiação e de como o mal lhe era intrínseco, versa sobre a morte como renovação do eu. Também debate uma suposta experiência mística de Bronte comparada à Teresa D'Avila e como isso a traz ainda mais perto da experiência com a morte, como bem a experiência hipermoral.Na segunda parte sobre Baudelaire Bataille contrapõe sua visão sobre o mesmo com a do livro de Sartre, este Bataille indica que enxerga sua poesia sob um olhar da individualidade, quando é necessário enxergar a poesia baudeleriana e a vida do autor sob um viés materialista historicizado.Na terceira parte Bataille nos traz suas considerações sobre A Feiticeira de Jules Michelet, de como este tirou as bruxas de sua posição de opróbrio, o que me fez ter uma ânsia em conhecer tal livro.Na quarta parte o autor discorre sobre William Blake e deixa bem claro que este é um de seus mais queridos representantes da literatura inglesa muito em virtude de seu linguajar caótico, Bataille ainda esclarece ser muito interessante analisar Blake sob a luz da psicologia, seja pelo viés freudiano ou junguiano.Na quinta parte Bataille nos fala de Sade, sobretudo de sua obra-prima 120 dias de Sodoma e infere que Sade se instalaria mais na posição do masoquista do que na de sádico, se Flaubert era Bovary, Sade era Justine.Na sexta e melhor parte Bataille discorre sobre Proust, mesclando considerações sobre Jean Santeuil, Recherche e questões pessoais do próprio Proust como seu socialismo de juventude e o papel da moralidade e mentira em sua vida e obra.Na sétima parte o autor explicita as dimensões antirrevolucionárias presentes na obra de Kafka, como O Castelo e O Processo e como essa passividade de seus protagonistas/alter-egos se vê refletida no relacionamento com seu pai.Na oitava e última parte Bataille acaba por manter um diálogo com o livro de Sartre, Saint Genet, e aborda o mal em Genet enquanto soberano refletindo na incomunicabilidade de sua escrita.

  • Sophie
    2019-05-03 22:42

    Στη συγκεκριμένη μελέτη ο Bataille, ενσωματώνοντας στο έργο του απόψεις του Sartre, αναλύει τις βασικές αρχές του έργου των Baudelaire, Blake, Sade, Proust και Genet. Με κριτική ματιά, δε διστάζει να κατακρίνει τις υφολογικές και νοηματικές πρωτοτυπίες των προαναφερθέντων, ενώ ταυτόχρονα ο διάλογος που αναπτύσσεται ανάμεσα στα όσα έχουν γραφτεί ήδη από τον Sartre και στα όσα γράφει, ως έμμεση απάντηση, ο Bataille καταδεικνύει, με έναν συναρπαστικό τρόπο, το σημείο που συγκλίνουν, ή και αποκλίνουν, δύο τόσο ενδιαφέροντες άνθρωποι του πνεύματος. Η παρούσα έκδοση δεν περιλαμβάνει, δυστυχώς, τις μελέτες του Bataille πάνω στη λογοτεχνία της Brontë, του Michelet και του Kafka.

  • Steven
    2019-05-18 14:59

    "Though poetry may trample verbally on the established order, it is no substitute for it." (29)A fascinating collection of eight essays (on Emily Brontë, Baudelaire, Michelin, William Blake, Sade, Proust, Kafka, and Genet) that (ostensibly) centers on the notion of evil in literature, but which touches on many other themes like freedom, eroticism, death, violence, childhood, impotence, and so on. The main point that Bataille sets out to prove is that literature is a return to childhood, albeit not an innocent one; his essay on Kafka was the most convincing in this respect. Worth revisiting.

  • Alex Sarll
    2019-04-27 15:31

    There's a grand seriousness, teetering on the edge of ridiculousness, which is possible in French but not in English. Granted, Bosie's translation can't help, but why else did Wilde write all those witty works in English and then the incantatory and half-absurd Salome in French? And who better exemplifies the Anglo-Saxon idea of a French intellectual than that academician of the perverse Georges Bataille? Who, much to my surprise, turns out not to take some of his subjects half so seriously as they'd like. He sees through Genet's bullshit, and is probably one of the first to note that de Sade is often at least as boring as he is disgusting (his further brilliant insight - that the 120 Days* is best considered in the same light as a monk's devotional work, rather than modern literature, is not one I recall seeing adopted elsewhere). A couple of the essays here are extended quibbles with Sartre, ultimately on the grounds that Bataille finds his obsession with individual sovereignty hollow. Because Bataille loves his transgression, yes - but he's also aware of the practical limits of transgression; once you genuinely want to do evil then to you it is no longer evil - and if you devote yourself to breaking every law, what have you done but make a new law for yourself? So transgression, like sacrifice in an earlier age, must always exist within a community and an ethical framework where it is still seen as taboo and as an occasional festival. Now, this is where I'm not at all sure I agree with those Gallic sweeping statements; did a society which practised human sacrifice really even regard that as murder, any more than ours considers judicial imprisonment to be a species of kidnapping? But the wider point is certainly one to bear in mind as the notion of rebellion becomes ever more hollow and commodified.*A title which, alongside several others and some passages of quotation, translator Alastair Hamilton leaves in French. Finish the job, mate.

  • Dan
    2019-05-21 14:50

    Its title suggests a much broader discussion than the book actually contains. However, Bataille does not write about some classical religious or philosophical concept of evil, nor does he discuss how it is represented in literature in general. Rather, he focuses on a particular notion of “evil” and on the work of seven particular writers: Emily Bronte, Charles Baudelaire, Jules Michelet, the Marquis de Sade, William Blake, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka and Jean Genet.Literature and Evil is more a work of philosophy or critical theory than a conventional instance of literary criticism and analysis. That it is more the former than the latter is reflected in the irregularity of Bataille’s approach to the writers he discusses. In the chapters on Bronte and Michelet, for instance, he comments on their work in the most general way, while in the chapter on Kafka, he quotes several passages from Kafka’s stories and diaries, but almost nothing from The Trial, The Castle or The Metamorphosis. Similarly, the chapters on Baudelaire and on Sade are less a commentary on the works of those writers and more a commentary on what existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote about them. Indeed, Bataille’s unsystematic approach is reflected in the way that he discusses different writers in the context of different critical approaches: Michelet in terms of anthropology, Blake in terms of Jungian psychology, Kafka in terms of Marxism, etc. In some instances, moreover, there seems to be as much emphasis on the writer’s biography as on his or her written work.This is not to say that Bataille does not tell us anything about the writers or their works; he comments, for instance, on the (unsurprising) resemblance between the argument of Blake’s poetry and Friedrich Nietzsche’s analyses in The Genealogy of Morals, and on Baudelaire’s romantic, and Sade’s philosophic desire for the impossible. As one reads, it becomes clear that Bataille is not so much interested in discussing these writers in terms of their significance with regard to literature, as in employing their works to explore evil as it relates to erotism and the related themes of excess and destruction.

  • Vince Darcangelo
    2019-05-21 19:50

    Favorite Quotes:"Literature is not innocent. It is guilty and should admit itself so.""I believe that man is necessarily put up against himself and that he cannot recognise himself and love himself to the end unless he is condemned.""It is to this purpose that we put the arts: they manage, on the stage, to arouse in us the highest possible degree of anxiety… evoke these derangements, these lacerations, this decline which our entire activity endeavours to avoid.""Laughter teaches us that when we flee wisely from the elements of death, we merely want to preserve life. When we enter the regions that wisdom tells us to avoid, on the other hand, we really live it.""But the ritual of witchcraft is the ritual of an oppressed people. The religion of a conquered nation has often become the magic of societies formed as a result of the conquest.""Humanity pursues two goals--one, the negative, is to preserve life (or to avoid death), and the other, the positive, to increase the intensity of life.""Even if it wanted to, poetry could not construct: it destroys; it is only true when in revolt.""That which destroys a being, also releases him: besides, release is always the ruin of a being who has set limitations on his propriety.""There is a turmoil, a sense of drowning, in sensuality which is similar to the stench of corpses.""Evil is never surer of being evil than when it is punished.""To produce a work of literature is to turn one's back on servility as on every conceivable form of diminution."

  • Yumi Kaioh
    2019-05-23 17:57

    Realmente fiquei com a cueca molhada quando estava a ler os capítulos da Brontë e do Baudelaire. São realmente os mais interessantes. O capítulo sobre o Sade é desconcertante, porque nunca me tinha debruçado sobre a sua vida/obra por questões de disponibilidade. Pensar a vida toda que se perdeu um manuscrito, tal como o Herberto terá perdido um manuscrito no comboio da linha de Cascais (não sei até que ponto isto é realmente verdade, conta-se por aí), é perder um filho? É um horror, uma tragédia. Sade está mortinho da silva, mas o seu manuscrito d'OS 120 Dias de Sodoma está vivo e recomenda-se. Que bom que existe o Mal e a transgressão para me molharem as cuecas e fazerem o Bataille escrever bem e torrencialmente.

  • Paloma
    2019-05-23 16:45

    "La literatura no es inocente y, como tal, tenía que declararse culpable". Así abre este libro de ensayos George Bataille, escritor francés, al que leo por primera vez. Desde que vi el título de este libro en El Péndulo, tuve inquietud por leerlo. Merodé en diversas ocasiones la sección en la que libro se encontraba, toda vez que el ejemplar tenía un precio alto para mis estándares. Sin embargo, pudo más el interés que mi prudencia financiera, así que lo adquirí. He de confesar que tardé un par de meses en leerlo, y confesar también que la lectura inicial me pareció sumamente complicada. Yo pensaba haber comprado un libro de ensayos literarios, y al encontrarme con el primero sobre Emily Brontë y Cumbres Borrascosas, por un instante pensé que me había equivocado. Parecía más un libro de filosofía, y para rematar con una última confesión, odio la filosofía (odiar es extremo, más bien es un tema que no suelo leer). Por un momento pensé en abandonar la empresa. No entendía muchas cosas. Sin embargo, Bataille nos introduce en el tema, sobre la representación del mal a través de la literatura. Aún estoy digiriendo el contenido de los ensayos. No obstante, he adquirido una nueva perspectiva de autores como Kafka, Sade y Bauldelaire, e incluso me interesado por la obra de Michelet. Además, me urge volver a releer a Brontë. ¿Por qué estos autores están vinculados al mal? Creo entender que se debe a que buscaron ir más allá de los límites, más allá de lo social y moralmente aceptable. La literatura fue su conducto porque la literatura no tiene límite (o no debería tenerlo, como medio de expresión). Y en una sociedad como la nuestra, la moral es cuestión de límites. Esta declaración nos obliga a plantearnos, ¿entonces el bien tiene un límite, nos pone límites? Si los transgredimos entonces estamos en la zona del mal, pero un mal consciente del bien. Esto es lo que Bataille plantea. Y lo hace de una manera complicada sí, pero al mismo tiempo extraordinaria. Lecturas como ésta me aterrizan nuevamente en lo que es la fuerza de la literatura.

  • L.S.
    2019-05-23 19:36

    Doar doua scurte insemnari despre viziunea lui Bataille:1. despre raul in literatura vorbeste din perspectiva raului per se, ca opus Binelui, nu ca rau tangential unei necesitati (de exemplu, dorinta de a supravietui poate impinge la acte precum furtul uni paini, crima intr-o situatie limita, etc). 2. noteaza ca perioada copilariei diferitilor autori are un impact fundamental asupra devenirii lor ca scriitori, incapsuland fatete ale raului. Emily Bronte, traieste o viata austera, lipsita de dragoste materna si supusa unor rigori puritane. Baudelaire ramane de mic fara tata iar recasatoria mamei il alunga, rupand legatura speciala formata intre cei doi. Michelet cunoaste saracia si viata grea, la fel ca Blake, fiu unui comerciant de panzeturi confruntat de mic cu duritatea existentei. Si desigur incheie cu Kafka, "copilul etern", a carui viata a gravitat in jurul relatiei acestuia cu tatal sau.

  • Marie
    2019-05-04 14:36

    This book surely left a good impression of Bataille in me. His ability to link so many authors from different ages, united by this exploration of evil as being one of the proofs for the lack of innocence in literature is remarkable.I would say I was more lost with some parts because definitely Genet isn't an author I have read. But even so, Blake and Sade were definitely reconsidered in my mind after explaining the diversity of the first, and the nature of the second. I had only read one of Sartre's histories and the sexually explicit scenes were something I considered more of the same very quickly. I would say that at least, there was a distinction very important to make that I was leaving out: our capacity to still become horrified with so much violence in a single book has to mean something. Perhaps the world is not corrupted enough, because literature always comes back to denounce it, embrace it, but evil is never something that's avoided.

  • Sean A.
    2019-04-30 15:49

    As much as I enjoy the idea of transgression (which bataille and mischievous others infamously espoused), I can't help but think that in today's world-at-large, where everything is permitted (as long as someone is profiting off of it) and porn is a common coming of age activity for pre-teens, transgression has lost a lot of its teeth. And yet...'story of the eye' still seems well, shocking and fucked up in an enticing way. So I dug into the most interesting lesser known bataille title available through the library. It didn't disappoint, however, the idea of what is 'evil' seems somewhat limiting again, through today's shock-fest lense. Still worthwhile and lively though (considering it's a book of literary criticism). I'm not sure I totally buy his definitions of evil and literature fully, but they definitely had a pretty high degree of appeal in their descriptions to me besides that...

  • d.
    2019-05-02 21:52

    'nemir je bitan, to je smisao ove knjige. ali vreme je da se dosegne jasnoca saznanja.vreme je...ponekad se chak chini da vremena nema. u svakom sluchaju, vreme nas pozhuruje.ovi ogledi rezultat su napora koji sam ulozhio da bih dokonao smisao knjizhevnosti...knjizhevnost je neshto bitno, ili nije nishta. zlo - jedan zhestok oblik Zla - chiji izraz predstavlja knjizhevnost, ima za nas, verujem, suverenu vrednost. ali ovo gledishte ne nalazhe odsustvo morala, ono zahteva 'hipermoral'.'emili brontebodlermishleblejksadprustkafkazhene

  • Tosh
    2019-05-09 22:45

    The nature of evil in literature by one of the most evil men alive - Georges Bataille. Well, I don't thnk he was evil, but he for sure was sexy in a really dirty way. He was also a great critic and a wonderful stylist of a writer. Bataille rules!

  • Jesús
    2019-05-06 14:59

    Denso en cuanto a ideas, sencillo en cuanto a estilo. Muy buen prólogo de Rafael Conte. Espero seguir con Bataille, con "El erotismo".

  • Maurizio Manco
    2019-05-23 14:37

    "C’è in noi qualcosa di appassionato, di generoso e di sacro che oltrepassa le rappresentazioni dell’intelligenza: noi siamo umani appunto per questa eccedenza." (p. 132)

  • Maggie
    2019-05-15 21:37

    Literature is evil because it is against purpose. If work is perceived as useful time spent, writing is futile, and therefore, evil. Writers feel guilty about their "waste" of time. Leisure as selfish, rejecting the things that will keep you alive (anti-capitalism? - this seems French)Bronte - cursed, mysticism Baudelaire - "denial of good is a denial of the primacy of the future"Blake - energy and momentum of the universeSade - passion and energy and "a universe which degrades gradually and systematically, which tortures and destroys the totality of the beings which it presents." Proust - justice, truth, and passion - Evil and Good must coexist in order to better avoid indifference - Fuck the PoliceKafka - the refutation of effective activity - Death is the only means of avoiding abdication of sovereignty (The Trail, The Verdict) Theme of accepting death as larger than life - greater than the self. Individualism vs. communism.

  • Bernardo Mozelli
    2019-05-09 17:47

    Amazing book,Bataille's fasciating views on literature and excess and freedom of movement across various areas of the humanities are almost a work of art / literature / use the term you want in themselves, and his analyses (even of authors I don't particularly care about, like Brontë and Proust) are always fascinating, and his "economics of excess" - albeit very briefly touched upon here - are fascinating, and La Part Maudite has just been promoted to "urgent" level on my backlog because of this.I don't have my copy with me right now, so a expanded review isn't possible, but I strongly recommend the text on Baudelaire, specially for working as a very weird introduction to situationism (his analysis of the flâneur is more situationist than the situationist texts about the subject) and Jean Genet, for the great insights into pursuing Evil, sanctity and the subtle asswipe he gives to Sartre.

  • Darran Mclaughlin
    2019-05-05 22:34

    Utter shit. As literary criticism it makes half decent toilet paper. Also illustrates some of the worst tendencies of French intellectuals. I can't believe the respect this man received from Foucault, Barthes and Sontag amongt others. Colin McCabe says he is possibly the most important French Intellectual of the 20th Century. More important than Gide, Camus, Sartre, Proust, De Bouvoire or Aron? Bollocks.

  • Alex Obrigewitsch
    2019-05-26 18:37

    Bataille works through the connection between Literature and Evil in a number of essays on literary figures.Literature is Evil because it transgresses the rile and order of the Good. Literature is an excess, a work that is of no labour value. It takes the human beyond the human and opens the space for something new; something sovereign; something beyond good and evil.

  • Jules
    2019-05-21 17:34

    Bataille focuses less on literature and more on the writer. Is the writer evil? Are they inseparable from what they create? You can learn a lot about Blake's, Kafka's and Sade's personal lives, but what about their works? This reads like a biography rather than a study of literature. The title is misleading.

  • april violet
    2019-05-14 21:48

    This was the only Bataille available at my neighborhood used-book store. I read Story of the Eye many years ago, and although I was always intrigued by Bataille, I hadn't actively sought out his other works. I enjoyed Literature and Evil, but I'm not sure this is the best re-introduction.

  • Mimi
    2019-05-22 20:47

    well, I didn't quite finish it. Some sections, like the one on Charlotte Bronte and Kafka were much better than others, but I don't quite buy Bataille's thesis that literature is evil and childish and he stacks the deck by his chapters on Sade, Genet and Baudelaire. His chapter on Proust seemed superficial. Still it was worth perusing.

  • Jim Coughenour
    2019-05-08 18:55

    Of the many books by the obsessive Bataille I read over the years (including Story of the Eye — ICK!) — this small book of essays on "evil" literature is my favorite. It's Bataille without the tears of eros.

  • Ross
    2019-04-26 16:47

    My reading of this was for work more than pleasure, but there's still enough original thinking in here to satisfy even the most abjectly-minded soul...

  • Kathryn
    2019-05-08 18:40

    loved it!

  • Lisa
    2019-04-27 16:36

    Should be taught in every literature program.

  • Paul Toth
    2019-05-23 16:55

    Without evil, would there even be literature? I suppose if there were no evil, it would be necessary to invent it.

  • Autumn
    2019-05-22 15:37

    Get to the bloody point, Georges!

  • Lara Corona
    2019-04-26 15:46

    I particularly liked the part about Genet, but then again I was bound to.

  • Anton Shanaurin
    2019-05-21 20:57

    Интересное собрание эссе Жоржа Батая. Не скажу, что моё понимание достигло хотя бы процентов пяти. По крайней мере добавил себе в читалку новые книжки, которые здесь рассматриваются.