Bataille, Georges (1897–1962)

The French philosopher Georges Bataille briefly converted to Catholicism as a teenager and later trained as a medievalist, but he went on to engage with the transgressive writings of Marx, the Surrealists, Freud, Nietzsche, the Marquis de Sade, and the anthropology of archaic and primitive societies. He was a member of the Surrealists but did not get along with André Breton. In the 1920s and 1930s, he contributed articles to the anti-Stalinist Marxist journal La critique sociale and cofounded two review journals: the Surrealist Documents and the Nietzschean-inspired antimainstream Acéphale (Headless), with inquiries into archaic sacrificial cultures, Gnosticism, mythology, Christian mystics, madmen, Dionysius, sexuality, and death. He was a founding member of the influential Collège de Sociologie (1937–1939), an organization dedicated to retrieving “the ...

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