Who is Georges Bataille?June 25, 2021
(b. Billom, September 10, 1897; died June 8, 1962, Paris)
French writer, sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher. He developed his thoughts in the footsteps of Nietzsche and became one of the developers of surrealistic thought. He advocated a morality based on inner experiences of taking on evil and mystical journeys.
Bataille was born in Billom in 1897. He moved to Reims with his family in 1900. From 1917 he studied at the “Ecole des Chartes” in Paris and then worked as a librarian at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France while he was doing his vocational training. Bataille, who worked here until 1942, left his librarian duty after that date due to tuberculosis. In 1949 he resumed his job as librarian at Carpentras. He then continued the same job in Orléans. He published influential magazines such as Documents (1928), Acéphale (1937), and Critique (1936). He directed the work of the “Collége de sociologie”. Sometimes he came to the fore with his political identity, formed various groups with intellectuals and participated in activities. He had bitter polemics with Andre Breton and Sartre. He died in Paris in 1962. All of his books were published in 1972 with Foucault’s support.
In Bataille, the influence of philosophers such as Hegel, Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger can be seen, it is possible to say that he turned to surrealism in thought. Bataille follows a philosophical path that takes Nietzsche’s line of thought to extremes in new contexts. In his essay On Nietzsche, he not only conveys the thoughts of the philosopher Nietzsche, but also re-combines his thoughts with his own, revealing his own assessment of Nietzsche. In a sense, this means tracing Nietzsche at the expense of upsetting himself, developing and deepening his questions, and developing the field with new questions. It also revealed that the fascists misunderstood and distorted Nitezsche. He struggled with the limits of language, and he himself influenced philosophers who tinkered with those limits. His interest in anthropology enabled him to develop his philosophy with the influences of this field. Prohibitions and violations of prohibitions have always been the main orientation of his thinking. He developed his philosophy especially on eroticism, sexuality, death and lust. Bataille seems to give the general framework of his philosophical views in another book called Inner Experiment.
The issue of evil is one of Bataille’s central themes, because in his mindset, evil appears as one of the most fundamental facts of life. Evil, according to Bataille, is not a state of immorality or a lack of morality, but a condition of another kind of morality that denies the given morality. Taken as such, wickedness is a way of circumventing prohibitions and breaking rules, and “high morality” demands it. Since Bataille considers true freedom as provoking and transcending life, he says that recreating freedom and values passes through evil, and that this is the furthest place to go. Thus, conformist thinking style is avoided. The submissive conciliationism of goodness is freed. But for this it takes courage to take on evil. Accordingly, according to Bataille, literature is criminal and must admit its guilt. The source of creativity is sinfulness and evil. Literature feeds on the knowledge of evil, and this is what makes it a meaningful activity. Bataille gives the example of Michelet: He tells that Michelet left his house when he could not write, entered the public toilets on the road, and after taking a deep breath of the air there, he returned to his home to write. In this context, literature only gains a position worthy of its name when it takes risks, that is, when it takes risks. Bataille reveals such thoughts by evaluating the cursed writers of literature in particular; These are writers such as Bronte, Michelet, Blake, Baudelaire, Sade, Kafka, Genet.
He also produced literary texts based on evil. Priest C. and the Story of the Eye had a significant impact at this point. Roland Barthes says of The Tale of the Eye: It is true that Bataille owes much to Sade in terms of style, but while Sade keeps a tally of erotic combinations, in Bataille we encounter a series of uneasiness of objects and the discovery of substances. Bataille’s style touches the true nature of man; as a result of the cycles, it leads us to something striking: to literature (inside the book).
Susan Sontag, a Bataille-influenced writer and theorist, on the back cover of the book: What makes The Story of the Eye so powerful and disturbing is Bataille’s better understanding that pornography is ultimately about death, not sexuality. “The Story of the Eye” is the most contradictory of all the books I’ve read.”
Georges Bataille is one of the most outliers in 20th century philosophy. He is the author of excess in philosophy, as he is the author of evil in literature. The representatives of the thinkers who took philosophy to the extreme as well as the contrary.