L'Abbé C  

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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.

L'Abbé C was Georges Bataille's first published novella. First published by Les Éditions de Minuit in 1950, it is a work of dark eroticism, centered on the relationship between two nineteenth century brothers in a small French village, one of whom is a Catholic parish priest, while the other is a libertine. It explores issues of split subjectivity and existentialist bad faith.

Synopsis

"L'Abbé C" centres on the antagonisms that exist between two brothers. This novella recounts the story of Robert, a priest whose conduct appears so exemplary that he is called "L'Abbe" ("the abbot"). Against his perspective of ecclesiastical morality, one encounters his twin brother Charles, who is a "libertine."

Charles has a sexual relationship with Eponine, a female libertine. However, Eponine is also attracted to Robert. Worse, Robert is secretly attracted to Eponine, which precipitates an atmosphere of psychological and sexual tension within this love triangle. The story turns out badly for all involved, as the resolution of this unstable triangle is not a healthy outcome. The story is told mostly from Charles's point of view.

Robert undergoes a nervous breakdown, as he faints at a church service that he officiates at, with Eponine in the congregation. Robert becomes an alcoholic, and starts to harass Eponine at home late at night, leaving behind traces that suggest growing psychological instability. He loses his moral compass, and eventually becomes insane, leaving his village for a hotel on its outskirts, and a night with two sex workers. Murder and violence ensue before the novella resolves itself tragically.

Bibliography

Georges Bataille: L'Abbe C: London: Marion Boyars: 2001: ISBN 0-7145-2848-X

External links




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "L'Abbé C" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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