Literature and Evil

‘Literature is not innocent,’ Bataille declares in the preface to this unique collection of literary profiles. ‘It is guilty and should admit itself so.’ Only through acknowledging its complicity with the knowledge of evil can literature communicate fully. Bataille explores this idea through a series of remarkable studies on the work of eight outstanding authors: Emily Bronte, Baudelaire, Blake, Michelet, Kafka, Proust, Genêt and De Sade.

Born in 1897, Georges Bataille was a philosopher, novelist and critic who wrote on a wide range of topics, including eroticism, religion, anthropology and art. Even after his death in 1962, he continued to exert an increasingly vital influence on today’s literature and thought.

‘Bataille's work deals basically with one issue only: the experience of the edge, that is, living at the very limits of life, at the extreme, at the borderline of possibilities.’ The Bloomsbury Review

‘One of the most challenging and original writers of this century.’ Leo Bersani

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