Critical Horizons 3 (1):37-71 (2002)
AbstractThis essay addresses Georges Bataille as a historical thinker by concentrating on The Accursed Share (three volumes, 1949-54), the text Bataille took as his masterwork. An amalgam of cultural criticism, anthropological and sociological research, The Accursed Share reveals Bataille's temporalised vision of his four central ideas, excess, expenditure, sovereignty and transgression. Grappling with this vision is key for understanding Bataille's oeuvre as a whole because it brings the entirety of his assessments of Western and world culture under its heading.The aim of the paper is to offer a sense, on one hand, of Bataille's dystopic heterology and, on the other hand, the unique formulation of the junctures between economics, power and morality that define him as important for the irruption of post-structural thought specifically, and indeed, the postmodern era as a whole.
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