For Bataille did not distinguish the real from artifice, the movement of transgression from its representations in art and literature. While Elkins wants to argue that the power of lingchi is to exceed the power of any art, and so to negate the idea of an art of transgression, this argument makes a partition between art and lingchi, art and reality, that is not consistent with a philosophy of eroticism in which such classifications spill into each other. In an earlier book, The Object Stares Back , Elkins narrated the photographs, seeing the victim as a woman among male executioners and witnesses. Thinking of the execution as symptomatic of gender relations, including the possibility that this was an adulteress being put to death, was what made these images "difficult to come to terms with. The methods of these scholars have to do with a certain kind of looking, one immersed in the particular reason of this or that specialisation, reasoning away the horror of the images.

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Start your review of The Tears of Eros Write a review Shelves: adventures-in-thought The doors of my mind have only recently opened to and been opened by Bataille, so what I say about The Tears of Eros will necessarily be that of a novice. Theres a thrill, tinged with anxiety, of being an intellectual novice at the age of We have hanging in our house a woodblock print done by a friend of ours of a gaunt and cigarette smoking Joan Didion.

Worked into this portrait is a quote of hers - I know what nothing means and keep on playing. I have not read a single book of Didions, The doors of my mind have only recently opened to and been opened by Bataille, so what I say about The Tears of Eros will necessarily be that of a novice.

I read it as an inspirational message, as does my wife, but I know our individual interpretations of it are fundamentally different, though I have no interest in discussing this difference of interpretation with her. It is enough that the phrase has significant meaning, however different, for each of us. It means so much to me because in recent years my spiritual path or search for authenticity has become centered on nothingness.

Truth exists, but only as founded on nothingness, which for me means that no thought or construct of meaning can contain truth. Faith too often is nothing more than faith in a pat and simple-minded thought.

My concern is to be, to go, beyond thought, and to play as if suspended in this profound void of non-thought spewing forth thoughts, ironically. In The Tears of Eros this nothingness, this ineffable peak beyond all thought, is illustrated by an ancient cave painting.

In this cave painting a gored buffalo with entrails spilling out is charging or has charged the man responsible for its mortal wound. This man is apparently dead or dying, a victim of his victim the charging buffalo, and is sporting a quite prominent erection.

This painting serves as a kind of flashing window, a window flashing in and out of apprehension, into the charged nothingness that Bataille pursued to the ends of his thoughts, and beyond. An even more extreme and illustrative example of his concerns is saved for a very brief discussion at the end of the book. It is a photograph of a Chinese man undergoing horrible torturous mutilation. Bataille asserts that the face of this man, with eyes raised heaven-ward a la St.

Joan of Arc, is expressing a kind of joy or transcendence coupled with extreme pain and despair obviously , and so has served as profound inspiration for him he owned a copy of the picture and spent much time contemplating it. At times his fervor to believe what he himself was writing led him to see in things only that which corresponded with his thought.

As when he asserts that apes and all animals by extension have no concern for their dead, and when he says that apes have no sense of humor. These are only quibbles, but were enough to form chinks in the armor of his thoughts; but then again, Bataille is not concerned overmuch with logical argument, being more an aesthete or a poet, so in a way these chinks only make his thought even more authentic to me, as passion trumps logic any day.


The tears of Eros

Born on 10 September in Billom in the region of Auvergne , his family moved to Reims in , where he was baptized. Although brought up without religious observance, he converted to Catholicism in , and became a devout Catholic for about nine years. He considered entering the priesthood and attended a Catholic seminary briefly. However, he quit, apparently in part in order to pursue an occupation where he could eventually support his mother. He eventually renounced Christianity in the early s. As a young man, he befriended, and was much influenced by, the Russian existentialist , Lev Shestov. Founder of several journals and literary groups, Bataille is the author of a large and diverse body of work: readings, poems, essays on innumerable subjects on the mysticism of economy, poetry , philosophy, the arts, eroticism.


The Tears of Eros



Georges Bataille




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