Chapter

The Scandal of the Real

in Sensible Ecstasy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780226349510
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226349466 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226349466.003.0002
The Scandal of the Real

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This chapter explores the “scandal” of Bataille's work through an analysis of his understanding of “experience.” Bataille is scandalous for Sartre because he confuses philosophical and scientific language with that of personal experience. His texts are scandalous because of the nature of the experience described within them. Through an analysis of his early novel Story of the Eye, the chapter reveals that, for Bataille, the kind of autobiographical realism to which many commentators and critics subject his work is itself an evasion of the “real”—that in experience which resists narrativization. Bataille continually attempts to bring out the real through the shattering of subjectivity, both literally and psychically, in Story of the Eye, dealing more directly with religion and mysticism. Violence, especially sexualized violence, marks a moment of masochistic self-shattering in which the languages of philosophy, science, and experience are deployed in order to be “unsaid.”

Keywords: scandal; Bataille; personal experience; Story of Eye; sexualized violence; mysticism

Chapter.  10153 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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