Georges Bataille (1897- 1962)

pseudonyms; Lord Auch, Pierre Angelique


Major work:





"But it is human to search, from lure to lure, for a life that is at last autonomous and authentic"

The Accursed Share, The Story of the eye

Eroticism, general economy, surplus/ excess, transgression and violence, heterogenus, surrealism, paradoxical philosophy, unknowing, sacred, sovereignty,

Nietsche, Hegel, Sade, Kojeve, Roger Caillois, Monnerot, Andre Breton, Artaud, Louis Aragon, Robert Desnos, Michel Leiris, Foucault, Baudrillard, Lyotard, Derrida

Surrealist in 20s, anti-fascism in 30�s. Editor of Documents (late 20's), Acephale (30's). College de Sociology (20's), return to Surrealism post/war. editor of Critique (late 40's)

Bataille is usually known as the writer of dark, sometimes bizarre, always extraordinary and erotic prose in a surrealist exploration of taboos and transgression. Yet his ouvre extends to other works of his that offer profound insights into the nature of religion, anthropology and economics. As a thinker of of totality, Bataille is quite unique in combining the history of religion, eroticism and production based upon non-individualist conceptions of man, his society and the economy. Read on

on this site

on other sites

Read essay

Unproductive expenditure and the spatial ground of the Earth - Julie Wilson



Power - Lecture to College of Sociology - Caillois/ Bataille

Text on work and suppression of desire (from Eroticism) 

The totality of desire (from The Accursed Share)

Notes on sovereignty

Bataille's relation to Surrealism

Sacred Sociology

Trashing Bataille "accursed" stalinist  Criticism of Bataille's the Accursed Share from a 'situationist' perspective

Georges Bataille and the notion of gift - D.Kosalka (


Non- fiction

Fiction and secondary reading


Theory of religion


*The Accursed Share (Vol1 1949)

*The Accursed Share (Vol II/III) Zone Books 1993

*Inner Experience (w. 1943/ fp 1954 as L'experience interieure) (First part of La Somme Atheologique) (trans. L. Boldt) SUNY press 1988

Literature and Evil (1957)

Manet (1955)

Lascaux or the Birth of Art (1955)

Writings on Surrealism (collection Verso 1994)

Encyclopaedia Acephalica (atlas archive 3, documents of the Avant-garde 1995)

Useful chronology and text notes on Bataille (run by J.Comas/Missouri)

Story of the Eye

Blue of Noon

L�Abbe C

My Mother,

Madame Edwarda,

The Dead Man

The impossible: A story of Rats - working notes

Secondary Reading:

The French Path to Postmodernity: Bataille between Eroticism and General Economics � Jurgen Habermas

A preface to Transgression � Michel Foucault

From Restricted to General Economy: A Hegelianism without reserve - Jaques Derrida (Chapter 9 of Writing and Difference)

Yale French Studies No. 76 � On Bataille 1990, Yale University Press

Georges Bataille: An intellectual Bibliography - Michel Surya, Verso

Bataille's Wars; Surrealism, Marxism, Fascism - John Hutnyk, Critique of Anthropology, Vol 23, III Sage 2003- uses Bataille to critique contemporary militarism