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Georges Bataille's (1887–1962) main writings span the period from the late 1920s up to his death in 1962. In his life, he was highly respected by many major authors (Blanchot, Caillois, Leiris, Klossowski), was in prolonged contact with others (Lacan, Benjamin), and was famously criticised (Breton, Sartre). He has had an immense influence on almost all French thought that has emerged since the 1960s, and since being translated extensively in the 1980s and 1990s, this influence has spread to the English-speaking world. What makes him important is the combination of transgressive content and a style that refuses academic convention, with Sade and Nietzsche high on the list of his own sources.

Several major works remained either anonymous (notably, erotic fiction such as The Story of the ...

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