Georges Bataille Biography
Georges Bataille (September 10, 1897 – July 9, 1962) novelist, poet, and essayist. He was born in Billom, France. He studied at l´École des Chartes and then entered the Superior School of Hispanic Studies of Madrid. In his youth he intended to start a priestly life, so he attended a Catholic seminary, but in 1922 he abandoned the Christian faith, there is no knowledge about the motives. What is known is that the brothels of Paris for him are authentic churches.
As a librarian at the National Library of Paris, he enjoyed some freedom to write, read and disseminate his postulates. After several years he obtained a position as director of the Orleans Municipal Library (until the day of his death). He participated in activities of the surrealist groups until he left André Breton, and directed the Documents, Acéphale, and Critique magazines. His cultural and literary background was impressive.
Thanks to his friend Alfred Métraux, he became interested in ethnology, a discipline that led him to study religion and the sacred, the anthropological element was present by Marcel Mauss and the philosophical was due to Alexandre Kojève. In 1937 he founded the Collège de Sociologie with Michel Leiris and Roger Caillois to analyze the manifestations of the sacred in modern society.
His work deserved comments of all kinds, Michel Foucault praised his work. Through literature and essay, he questioned the rationality of the written word and the classic concept of the subject. He left aside the rhetoric to approximate what he called “the nakedness of being” since he assured that the best way for man to consummate his ideas was through “transgression.” It was clear that in his postulates the individual lived a reality divided, conditioned and limited by the great rational systems of ethics and aesthetics. As an alternative, the human must experience ecstasy to achieve a liberating inner experience.
He took Nietzsche’s tragic philosophy and Hegel’s dialectic to elaborate a materialistic mysticism where God is an absence that does not exclude the sacred, and where excess is a path of revelation where eroticism and death are intimately linked. Transgressive experiences (art, laughter, eroticism) break the limits of logic. This leads us to an area of ”not knowing” that is completely alien to the field of the possible, of knowledge, and rationality, and that has its origin in the absence of truth.
The erotic novels he wrote were: History of the eye (1928), The blue of the sky (1935), Madame Edwarda (1937), The priest C (1950) and My mother (1966); set that is an essential reference in studies on literature and eroticism. He completed his literary work the set of poems gathered in L´Archangelique (1944). His essay work includes studies on the Marquis de Sade, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, Charles Baudelaire, and Jean Genet. He also focused on political texts written during the German occupation; the Atheological Sum, a trilogy composed of The Inner Experience (1943), The Guilty (1944), and About Nietzsche; The cursed part (1947), Theory of religion, Lascaux or the birth of art (1955), Manet (1955), Literature and evil (1957), Eroticism (1957) and The tears of Eros (1959).