The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

by Georges Bataille, Stuart Kendall
     
 

A deft reconstruction of what Georges Bataille envisioned as a continuation of his work La Somme Athéologique, this volume brings together the writings of one of the foremost French thinkers of the twentieth century on the central topic of his oeuvre. Gathering Bataille’s most intimate writings, these essays, aphorisms, notes, and lectures on

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Overview

A deft reconstruction of what Georges Bataille envisioned as a continuation of his work La Somme Athéologique, this volume brings together the writings of one of the foremost French thinkers of the twentieth century on the central topic of his oeuvre. Gathering Bataille’s most intimate writings, these essays, aphorisms, notes, and lectures on nonknowledge, sovereignty, and sacrifice clarify and extend Bataille’s radical theology, his philosophy of history, and his ecstatic method of meditation. Following Bataille’s lead, as laid out in his notebooks, editor Stuart Kendall assembles the fragments that Bataille anticipated collecting for his summa. Kendall’s introduction offers a clear picture of the author’s overall project, its historical and biographical context, and the place of these works within it. The "system" that emerges from these articles, notes, and lectures is "atheology," understood as a study of the effects of nonknowledge. At the other side of realism, Bataille’s writing in La Somme pushes language to its silent end. And yet, writing toward the ruin of language, in search of words that slip from their meanings, Bataille uses language—and the discourses of theology, philosophy, and literature—against itself to return us to ourselves, endlessly. The system against systems is in fact systematic, using systems and depending on discourses to achieve its own ends—the end of systematic thought.A medievalist librarian by training, Georges Bataille (1897–1962) was active in the French intellectual scene from the 1920s through the 1950s. He founded the journal Critique and was a member of the Acéphale group and the Collège de Sociologie. Among his works available in English are Visions of Excess (Minnesota, 1985), Tears of Eros (1989), and Erotism (1990).

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816635054
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
12/01/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
5.88(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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Table of Contents

A Note on the Translation
Editor's Introduction: Unlimited Assemblage
Socratic College5
Nietzsche's Laughter18
Discussion on Sin26
Method of Meditation77
The Absence of God103
Initial Postulate105
The Consequences of Nonknowledge111
The Teaching of Death119
Nonknowledge and Rebellion129
Nonknowledge, Laughter, and Tears133
Aphorisms for the "System"153
The Sovereign185
Nonknowledge196
Post-Scriptum 1953206
Aphorisms210
Beyond Seriousness212
The Congested Planet221
Pure Happiness224
Notebook for "Pure Happiness"236
Outside The Tears of Eros257
Notes275
Index295

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