The Sunday of the Negative: Reading Bataille Reading Hegel (Suny Series in Hegelian Studies)

Christopher M. Gemerchak


A comprehensive philosophical introduction to the thought of Georges Bataille.

Although often considered an esoteric figure occupying the dark fringes of twentieth-century thought, Georges Bataille was a pivotal precursor to a generation of poststructuralist and postmodern thinkers—including Baudrillard, Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, and Lyotard. The Sunday of the Negative provides the most extensive English-language investigation of Bataille's critical treatment of the thought of Hegel, focusing on the notions of subjectivity, desire, self-consciousness, knowledge, and the experience of the divine. The book spans all of Bataille's writings, patiently navigating even the most obscure texts. The author explains how Bataille's notion of self-consciousness both derives from, and is an alternative to, that of Hegel. Disclosing the origins of Bataille's most influential concepts, the book moves across philosophy proper to include reflections on anthropology, economics, cultural criticism, poetry, eroticism, mysticism, and religion.

“I am impressed with the author's careful, clear awareness of the range of Bataille's work, and by the clarity with which Bataille—a writer who famously eludes clarification—is explained throughout. Bataille's flaws and limits are addressed without either simple condemnation or apologies.” — Karmen MacKendrick, author of Immemorial Silence

“Gemerchak is able to tease out the very rigorous philosophy of finitude that underpins Bataille's discourse on transgression. By taking Bataille seriously as a philosopher, Gemerchak has not only provided a context for Bataille's theories, he has also revealed Bataille's true stature as one of the most significant thinkers of the twentieth century.” — Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, author of Lacan: The Absolute Master

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