The Story of the Eye

Georges Bataille, 1928

An utterly debaucherous novella (with a companion essay) hell-bent on pushing the limits of transgressivity. The accompanying essays by Sontag on “The Pornographic Imagination” and Barthes on “The Meaning of [Bataille’s] Eye” were worth reading in themselves. I think it sets out to accomplish what it intends to do – and Sontag acknowledges this in depth – in that this is a tacit amalgam of some philosophical food for thought with half-decent writing. Don’t expect to get Plato out of this though: whilst Bataille did publish philosophical texts, in this particular instance his mode, or rather representation of thought, is more aligned with de Sade. It’s best not to take this one too seriously, else you’ll get caught in the trap I feel Bataille sets out for us. This has been called ‘the Greatest Love Story Ever’ by a certain YouTube reviewer and while I can’t quite agree, it’s interesting to read this through different, unexpected lenses. Worth it since it’s short.

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