The Accursed Share: An Essay on General Economy, Volumes 2-3

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Zone Books, Feb 12, 1992 - Economic development - 460 pages
11 Reviews
The three volumes of The Accursed Shareaddress 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." This Zone edition includes in a single volume a reconstruction, based on the versions published in Bataille's posthumous collected works, of his intended continuation of The Accursed Share.

In the second and third volumes, The History of Eroticismand Sovereignty,Bataille explores the same paradox of utility, respectively from an anthropological and an ethical perspective. He first analyzes the fears and fascination, the prohibitions and the transgressions attached to the realm of eroticism as so many expressions of the "uselessness" of erotic life. It is just this expenditure of excess energy that demarcates the realm of human autonomy, of independence relative to .useful" ends. The study of eroticism therefore leads naturally to the examination of human sovereignty, in which Bataille defines the sovereign individual as one who consumes and does not labor, creating a life beyond the realm of utility.

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Review: The Accursed Share 2-3: The History of Eroticism and Sovereignty

User Review  - Alexander Panagiotou - Goodreads

An exhausting, but fascinating read. From ritual sacrifice to gift giving, love and prostitution, kings and communists, Nietzsche and Jesus - Bataille roves though the archives of humanity to give ... Read full review

Review: The Accursed Share 1: Consumption

User Review  - Chris Nagel - Goodreads

Intriguing opening salvo. I'm profoundly puzzled by the connection between the analyses of economies and self-consciousness. I gather that the limited economies discussed here, and the limited ... Read full review

Contents

Preface
13
PART ONE INTRODUCTION
21
PART Two THE PROHIBITION or lNCEST
27
Copyright

12 other sections not shown

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About the author (1992)

Georges Bataille was a French poet, novelist, and philosopher. He was born in Billon, Puy-de-Dome, in central France on September 10, 1897. His father was already blind and paralyzed from syphilis when Bataille was born. In 1915, Bataille's father died, his mind destroyed by his illness. The death marked his son for life. While working at the Bibliotheque National in Paris during the 1920s, Bataille underwent psychoanalysis and became involved with some of the intellectuals in the Surrealist movement, from whom he learned the concept of incongruous imagery in art. In 1946 he founded the journal Critique, which published the early work of some of his contemporaries in French intellectual life, including Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida. Bataille believed that in the darkest moments of human existence-in orgiastic sex and terrible death-lay ultimate reality. By observing them and even by experiencing them, actually in sex and vicariously in death, he felt that one could come as close as possible to fully experiencing life in all its dimensions. Bataille's works include The Naked Beast at Heaven's Gate (1956), A Tale of Satisfied Desire (1953), Death and Sensuality: A Study of Eroticism and the Taboo (1962), and The Birth of Art: Prehistoric Painting (1955). Bataille died in Paris on July 8, 1962.

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