The Bataille Reader
Since the publication in France of his Oeuvres Completes in the mid-1970s, the breadth of Bataille's writing and influence has become increasingly apparent across the disciplines in, for example, the fields of literature, art, art history, philosophy, critical theory, sociology, economics, and anthropology.
articulating the unknown point of dissipation for philo sophical, material and psychological systems, offers itself as one term among many in the attempt to address, as 'heterology', 'the science of what is completely other' (p. 159). Economically, otherness emerges as that part Introduction: From Experience to Economy 19 of human activity which remains irreducible t o systems of production and use. While productive social activity absorbs the bulk of living energy, there remain certain
to chance is hard to follow; it's threatened by, but also inseparable from, horror and death. Without horror and death or without the risk of them, where would the magic of chance be? 'Every flowery exhalation of a young girl, the hectic flush of her cheek touches it. And it's so transparent a breath will tarnish it, a word dissipate it.' To discern the audacity of play with each passing impulse - but I'm prevented from this by anguish. In anguish a flower withers . . . life reeks of death. Life
powerlessness bearable. If I were all powerful . . . God is dead. He's so dead, in fact, that the only way to make this comprehensible is by killing myself. The normal development of knowledge limits me to myself. It convinces me that the world ends with me. But I can't dwell on that connection. I stray, I evade and neglect myself, and I find it impossible to return to an attachment to self except through taking up a neglectful attitude. I live only by neglecting myself, I care about myself only
trans. Roben Hurley ( 1 99 1 ) pp. 1 47-64, copyright © by Les Editions de Minuit; translation copyright © 1 99 1 by City Lights Books. The Litho Shop, Inc. for Georges Bataille, Guilty, trans. Bruce Boone, intro. Denis Hollier (1 988) The Lapis Press, pp. 69-86, 1 35-8, 1 39-4 1 , copyright © 1 9 6 1 Editions Gallimard; translation © 1 988 by Bruce Boone. Paragon House for Georges Bataille, On Nietzsche, trans. Bruce Boone, intro. Sylvere Lotringer (1 992) pp. 1 7-9, 68-7 1 , 1 08- 1 6,
relative value to utility. Men assure their own subsist ence or avoid suffering, not because these functions themselves lead to a The Notion of Expenditure 181 sufficient result, but in order to accede to the insubordinate function of free expenditure. Notes On potlatch, see above all Marcel Mauss, 'Essai sur Ie don, forme archaique de l'echange', in Annee sociologique, 1 925. [Translated as The Gift: fonns andfunctions of exchange in archaic societies, tr. I. Cunnison (Norton, New York, 1