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200 × 130 × 15 mm
240 pages
15 illustrations
01 Jun 2007
Critical Lives
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Georges Bataille Stuart Kendall

Georges Bataille was arguably the greatest influence on the post-structuralist revolution in twentieth-century thought and literature, yet few truly understand his large body of work or its impact. Stuart Kendall now translates the work and life of the renowned French writer into a concise yet informative biography that reveals fascinating facets of this intellectual giant.

Until his death in 1962, Bataille was an instrumental force in philosophical debate, acting as a foil for both Surrealism and Existentialism and advocating radical views that spanned the entire spectrum of political thought. Stuart Kendall chronicles these aspects of his intellectual development, as well as tracing his pivotal role in the creation of journals such as Documents and Acéphale, and how his writings in aesthetics and art history were the pioneering cornerstones of visual culture studies. Kendall positions Bataille at the heart of a prodigious community of thinkers, including André Breton, Michel Leiris, Jean-Paul Sartre, Alexandre Kojève, Jacques Lacan and Maurice Blanchot, among many others.

A wholly readable and compelling account, Georges Bataille will be invaluable for all thinkers who have benefited from Bataille’s lasting contributions.

‘a compact and concise study . . . The study of Bataille is increasingly unconfined to the domain of French Studies and so this book is key to any future preliminary discussion of such a prominent figure outside of his subject area and an exclusively Francophone community’ — Modern and Contemporary France

‘a clear, informed guide for anyone wishing to explore Bataille.’ — Modern Language Review

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Stuart Kendall is Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages and Humanities at Eastern Kentucky University. He has edited and translated two collections of essays by Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge (2001) and The Cradle of Humanity (2005).

        Introduction: Ecce Homo
  1    Abandonment
  2    An Attempt at Evasion
  3    Violence and Sumptuosity
  4    Underground Man
  5    Incipit Parodia
  6    Heterology
  7    Excremental Philosopher
  8    The Democratic Communist Circle
  9    Crisis
10    Counter Attack
11    Acéphale
12    The College of Sociology
13    War
14    Beyond Poetry
15    Between Surrealism and Existentialism
16    Summa
17    Unfinished
        Select Bibliography
        Photo Acknowledgements