The Accursed Share: Volumes II and III: The History of Eroticism and Sovereignty

The Accursed Share: Volumes II and III: The History of Eroticism and Sovereignty

by Georges Bataille
     
 

The three volumes of The Accursed Share address what Georges Bataille sees as the paradox of utility: namely, if being useful means serving a further end,
then the ultimate end of utility can only be uselessness. The first volume of The
Accursed Share, the only one published before Bataille's death, treated this paradox in economic terms, showing that

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Overview

The three volumes of The Accursed Share address what Georges Bataille sees as the paradox of utility: namely, if being useful means serving a further end,
then the ultimate end of utility can only be uselessness. The first volume of The
Accursed Share, the only one published before Bataille's death, treated this paradox in economic terms, showing that "it is not necessity but its contrary, luxury, that presents living matter and mankind with their fundamental problems." This Zone edition includes in a single volume a reconstruction, based on the versions published in Bataille's posthumous collected works, of his intended continuation of
The Accursed Share.In the second and third volumes, The History of Eroticism and
Sovereignty, Bataille explores the same paradox of utility, respectively from an anthropological and an ethical perspective. He first analyzes the fears and fascination, the prohibitions and the transgressions attached to the realm of eroticism as so many expressions of the "uselessness" of erotic life. It is just this expenditure of excess energy that demarcates the realm of human autonomy, of independence relative to.useful" ends. The study of eroticism therefore leads naturally to the examination of human sovereignty, in which Bataille defines the sovereign individual as one who consumes and does not labor, creating a life beyond the realm of utility.Georges Bataille, a philosopher and novelist sui generis, died in 1962.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Bataille, a leading writer in France from the 1930s to his death in 1962, offers here nothing less than a new theory of civilization. Economists usually emphasize scarcity: limited means must be carefully allotted to serve conflicting ends. Bataille dissents: in his view, much more energy lies available than societies can use. The surplus energy must be dissipated; historically, this was accomplished through war and spending on luxuries. Though Bataille's eye for vivid detail is evident, his theory appears more valuable as a framework for his dazzling literary skills than a contribution to knowledge. Probably of greater interest to students of French literature than to economists or historians. David Gordon, Bowling Green St. Univ., Ohio

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780942299212
Publisher:
Zone Books
Publication date:
10/04/1993
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
460
Sales rank:
1,364,580
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

" The Accursed Share is a brilliant Product of
[Bataille"s] loony-toons coupling of critical genres: pseudo/antisurrealist manifestos, leftist political treatises, erotics, Hegel "n" Nietzsche studies,
mysticism, anthropology, and sun worship.... This strange and impressive book should not be ignored." Erik Davis , Voice Literary Supplement (review of volume I)

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