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Georges Bataille

Georges Bataille (1897-1962) was a French writer, essayist, and philosopher whose works include The Story of the Eye, The Blue of Noon, The Accursed Share, and Theory of Religion.

Titles by This Author

Prehistoric Art and Culture

The Cradle of Humanity: Prehistoric Art and Culture collects essays and lectures by Georges Bataille spanning 30 years of research in anthropology, comparative religion, aesthetics, and philosophy. These were neither idle nor idyllic years; the discovery of Lascaux in 1940 coincides with the bloodiest war in history—with new machines of death, Auschwitz, and Hiroshima. Bataille's reflections on the possible origins of humanity coincide with the intensified threat of its possible extinction.

Volumes II and III: The History of Eroticism and Sovereignty

The three volumes of The Accursed Share address what Georges Bataille sees as the paradox of utility: namely, if being useful means serving a further end, then the ultimate end of utility can only be uselessness. The first volume of The Accursed Share, the only one published before Bataille's death, treated this paradox in economic terms, showing that "it is not necessity but its contrary, luxury, that presents living matter and mankind with their fundamental problems."

Theory of Religion, along with its companion volumes of The Accursed Share, forms the cornerstone of Bataille's "Copernican" project to overturn not only economic thought but its ethical foundations as well. No other work of Bataille's has managed so incisively to draw the links between man's religious and economic activities.

Volume 1: Consumption