Georges Bataille as Parodist of Our Monstrous Life


…he does not write masterpieces, he writes against them…”
…….– Georges Bataille

from Bataille’s essay The Human Face:

It was only until the first years of the nineteenth century that the extravagance of involuntary contradiction and of senile paradox had free rein; since then white men and women have, as we know, tenaciously persisted in their efforts to regain, at last, a human face. Those wasp-waisted corsets scattered throughout provincial attics are now the prey of moths and flies, the hunting grounds of spiders. As to the tiny cushions which long served to emphasize those forms of extreme plumpness, they now haunt only the ghastly brains of those greybeards, expiring daily beneath their weird grey bowlers, who still dream of flabby torsos strangled in the obsessive play of lace and whalebone. And within the image of the earth’s globe seen trampled underfoot by a dazzling American film star in a bathing suit, we may catch the sound, muffled but heady nonetheless, of a cock’s crow. And why blush at that sudden fascination? Why not admit that our few remaining heady dreams are traced by the swift bodies of young American girls? Thus if anything can still draw sobs for all that has just vanished, it is no longer a great singer’s beauty, but mere perversity, sordid and deluded. To us, so many strange, merely half-monstrous individuals seem to persist in empty animation, like the jingle of the music box, in innocent vice, libidinous heat, lyrical fumes. So that despite all antithetical obsession, there is absolutely no thought of dispensing with this hateful ugliness, and we will yet catch ourselves some day, eyes suddenly dimmed and brimming with inadmissible tears, running absurdly towards some provincial haunted house, nastier than flies, more vicious, more rank than a hairdresser’s shop.

3 thoughts on “Georges Bataille as Parodist of Our Monstrous Life

  1. “It is time to abandon the world of the civilized and its light. It is too late to be reasonable and educated – which has led to a life without appeal. Secretly or not, it is necessary to become completely different, or to cease being.” — Georges Bataille

    Liked by 1 person

    • One almost wants to change that “different” to “indifferent”… I was reading Bataille’s essay on Manet’s Olympia painting this morning, of the pure indifference of her gaze, of the equanimity of her eroticism in revealing not sex but rather a sovereignty of Self neither transcendent nor immanent, but encompassed in the distance between her formless indifference and the supreme disclosure of her being within a heterogeneous zone that cannot be assimilated nor absorbed into thought.

      Liked by 2 people

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