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Georges Bataille (1897-1962): Works in Translation

Last Updated: Aug 10, 2020 4:42 PM

Bataille's work defies comfortable categories, whether generic, intellectual, or moral. Theology, economics, and pornography rub elbows with mysticism, art history, and Surrealist gibberish. He is a writer of texts, in the sense of that word developed by poststructuralist critics: he creates works whose rules, rather than being established in advance by tradition, genre, or cohesive individual style, are forged, bent, broken, and discarded in the immanent process of writing itself, and leave the trace of that labor in frequent shifts of tone and register as well as the deliberate introduction of gaps, fissures, and incoherences into their texture. The characters in his narratives often seem just on the verge of discovering the shape of the story in which they are participating, only to lose it again in bouts of debauchery and vertigo; the ideas in his prose often seem just on the verge of falling into a distinct and orderly pattern, only to veer uncontrollably out of orbit and disperse within a single abrupt sentence. Hardly surprising, then, that his influence remains alive in those strands of poststructuralist thinking that emphasize how meaning in a literary text coalesces around points of stubborn and irreducible meaninglessness, concealing and absorbing them at once.
On this page you can discover nearly all of Bataille's writings that have been translated into English. Each book is listed in the bibliographies below in chronological order according to publication date, from newest to oldest, and is linked to WorldCat, where you can discover library holdings for that item in your region. You can always contact your librarian and fellow Bataillean, Michael Kicey, Humanities Liaison Librarian, with further research questions and needs.
Right: Hans Bellmer, "Untitled (Bound Woman)" (1963). Read more
about Bellmer and his close relationship to Bataille's work here.
Image source: Image license: Fair use.
Bellmer drawing

Expository Works

Fiction & Poetry