The Tears of Eros  

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"Tears of Eros is the culmination of Georges Bataille's inquiries into the relationship between violence and the sacred. Taking up such figures as Gilles de Rais, Erzebet Bathory, the Marquis de Sade, El Greco, Gustave Moreau, Andre Breton, Voodoo practitioners, and Chinese torture victims, Bataille reveals their common obsession: death.

This essay, illustrated with artwork from every era, was developed out of ideas explored in Erotism: Death and Sensuality and Prehistoric Painting: Lascaux or the Birth of Art. In it Bataille examines death-the "little death" that follows sexual climax, the proximate death in sadomasochistic practices, and death as part of religious ritual and sacrifice." --City Lights blurb

"Sade and Goya lived at about the same time. Sade, locked up in his prisons, sometimes at the extreme edge of madness; Goya, deaf for thirty-six years, locked up in a prison of absolute deafness. The French Revolution awakened hope in both of them: both men had a pathological loathing of any regime founded on religion. But more than anything else, an obsession with excessive pain unites them. Goya, unlike Sade, did not associate pain with sensuous pleasure. However, his obsession with death and pain contained a convulsive violence that approximates to eroticism." --The Tears of Eros (1961) by G. Bataille, Peter Connor translation, p. 132-133

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Tears of Eros (1961, French Les Larmes d'éros) is an art history book by Georges Bataille in which Bataille explores the relationship between visual art, eroticism, violence and death. Published by Jean-Jacques Pauvert, this, his last book, was prefaced by Joseph-Marie Lo Duca (including their correspondence), who was a close friend of Bataille towards the end of his life.

Its most recent English edition dates from 1989 by City Lights Publishers in a translation by Peter Connor. Some editions of the German and Dutch translations have the painting of José Manuel Capuletti, The Bottle of the Danaides, on its cover.

The book features an extended discussion of the Shaft of the Dead Man of Lascaux and is infamous for depicting the Death by a Thousand Cuts photograph.


Selected list of illustrations




See also

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