Quotations From GEORGES BATAILLE


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  • Life has always taken place in a tumult without apparent cohesion, but it only finds its grandeur and its reality in ecstasy and in ecstatic love.
    Georges Bataille (1897-1962), French novelist, critic. repr. In Visions of Excess: Selected Writings 1927-1939, ed. Allan Stoekl (1985). "The Sacred Conspiracy," no. 1, Acéphale (Paris, June 1, 1936).

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  • Pleasure only starts once the worm has got into the fruit, to become delightful happiness must be tainted with poison.
    Georges Bataille (1897-1962), French novelist, critic. The mother, in My Mother, p. 65 (1966, trans. 1979).

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  • The sovereign being is burdened with a servitude that crushes him and the condition of free men is deliberate servility.
    Georges Bataille (1897-1962), French novelist, critic. "The Diary of Chianine," pt. 4, L'Abbé C (1950).
  • Crime is a fact of the human species, a fact of that specieas alone, but it is above all the secret aspect, impenetrable and hidden. Crime hides, and by far the most terrifying things are those which elude us.
    Georges Bataille (1897-1962), French novelist, critic. "The Author's Profession of Faith," pt. 1, The Trial of Gilles de Rais (1965, revised 1991).

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  • The anguish of the neurotic individual is the same as that of the saint. The neurotic, the saint are engaged in the same battle. Their blood flows from similar wounds. But the first one gasps and the other one gives.
    Georges Bataille (1897-1962), French novelist, critic. "Notes: To Whomever Wishes Truly to Hear Me," sct. 1, Inner Experience (1942). Comprising the first volume of a trilogy published in France under the title La Somme Athéologique.
  • A judgment about life has no meaning except the truth of the one who speaks last, and the mind is at ease only at the moment when everyone is shouting at once and no one can hear a thing.
    Georges Bataille (1897-1962), French novelist, critic. L'Abbé C, pt. 2, ch. 17 (1950).

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  • Naturally, love's the most distant possibility.
    Georges Bataille (1897-1962), French novelist, critic. "Alleluia," vol. 2, sect. 4, La Somme Athéologique, Guilty (1944).

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  • I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.
    Georges Bataille (1897-1962), French novelist, critic. repr. In Violent Silence, ed. Paul Buck (1984). The Deadman, preface (1967).

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  • Sacrifice is nothing other than the production of sacred things.
    Georges Bataille (1897-1962), French novelist, critic. repr. In Visions of Excess: Selected Writings 1927-1939, ed. Allan Stoekl (1985). "The Notion of Expenditure," La Critique Sociale (Paris, Jan. 1933).
  • Beauty is desired in order that it may be befouled; not for its own sake, but for the joy brought by the certainty of profaning it.
    Georges Bataille (1897-1962), French novelist, critic. Eroticism, ch. 13 (1962).

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