Georges Bataille : An Intellectual Biography  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Georges Bataille : An Intellectual Biography (French title: Georges Bataille, la mort à l'œuvre), is Michel Surya's biography of Georges Bataille which was awarded the Prix Goncourt for biography. It was translated by Krzysztof Fijalkowski and Michael Richardson for Verso Books in 2002.

As Ian Pindar pointed out in a review of Surya's Bataille's biography, Bataille's life was of "extreme solitude and, ultimately, disappointment. He never became the respected writer he dreamed of becoming." As Surya points out, Bataille was envious of André Breton's celebrity and covetous of his position as leader of the Surrealists, yet he refused to join them, preferring to carp from the sidelines. Breton thought he went too far in embracing filth and corruption. "Mr Bataille loves flies," he said. "Not we." So Bataille remained on Surrealism's fringes, a buzzing fly that would not go away.

Ian Pindar writes: "there were several Georges Batailles. There was the controversial author who wrote about eroticism and death. There was the elegant librarian at the Bibliothèque Nationale, unfailingly courteous, with "lovely blue eyes". And there was the philosopher who nurtured the idea of writing an impossible "universal history", elements of which are traceable in Sovereignty and, surely his most impressive work, The Accursed Share.

Bibliography




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