The Cradle of Humanity: Prehistoric Art and Culture

Overview

"The Cradle of Humanity: Prehistoric Art and Culture collects Georges Bataille's essays and lectures spanning thirty years of his research in anthropology, comparative religion, aesthetics, and philosophy. These were neither idle nor idyllic years; the discovery of Lascaux in 1940 coincides with the bloodiest war in history - with new machines of death, Auschwitz, and Hiroshima. Bataille's reflections on the possible origins of humanity concur with the intensified threat of its possible extinction." "For Bataille, prehistory is universal history; ...
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Overview

"The Cradle of Humanity: Prehistoric Art and Culture collects Georges Bataille's essays and lectures spanning thirty years of his research in anthropology, comparative religion, aesthetics, and philosophy. These were neither idle nor idyllic years; the discovery of Lascaux in 1940 coincides with the bloodiest war in history - with new machines of death, Auschwitz, and Hiroshima. Bataille's reflections on the possible origins of humanity concur with the intensified threat of its possible extinction." "For Bataille, prehistory is universal history; it is the history of a human community prior to its fall into separation, into nations and races. The art of prehistory offers the earliest traces of nascent yet fully human consciousness - of consciousness not yet fully separated from natural flora and fauna nor from the energetic forces of the universe. A play of identities, the art of prehistory is the art of a consciousness struggling against itself, of a human spirit struggling against brute animal physicality. Prehistory is the cradle of humanity, the birth of tragedy." Bataille reaches beyond disciplinary specializations to imagine a moment when thought was universal. Bataille's work provides a model for interdisciplinary inquiry in our own day, a universal imagination and thought for our own potential community. The Cradle of Humanity speaks to philosophers and historians of thought, to anthropologists interested in the history of their discipline and in new methodologies, to theologians and religious comparatists interested in the origins and nature of man's encounter with the sacred, and to art historians and aestheticians grappling with the place of prehistory in the canons of art.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"it's terrific as a kind of poetics of prehistory" Publisher's WeeklyOnline

Zone Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781890951559
  • Publisher: Zone Books
  • Publication date: 7/1/2005
  • Pages: 210
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Georges Bataille (1897-1962) was a French writer, essayist, and philosopher whose works include The Story of the Eye, The Blue of Noon, TheAccursed Share, and Theory of Religion.

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Table of Contents

Editor's introduction : the sediment of the possible 9
I Primitive art 35
II The Frobenius exhibit at the Salle Pleyel 45
III A visit to Lascaux : a lecture at the Societe d'Agriculture, Sciences, Belles-Lettres et Arts d'Orleans 47
IV The passage from animal to man and the birth of art 57
V A meeting in Lascaux : civilized man rediscovers the man of desire 81
VI Lecture, January 18, 1955 87
VII The Lespugue Venus 105
VIII Prehistoric religion 121
IX The cradle of humanity : the Vezere Valley 143
X Unlivable earth? 175
Notes for a film 179
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