Georges Bataille (1897-1962)

Rina Arya

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Georges Bataille was a French cultural theorist and philosopher who wrote widely in a number of fields that included anthropology, sociology, art, economics, erotic literature and religion. Bataille’s influences were many and disparate, and included the anthropological studies of Emile Durkheim and Marcel Mauss; the writings of mystics such as St. John of the Cross; the works of various philosophers including Hegel and Nietzsche; and the psychoanalytic work of Freud. This chapter analyses the main ideas in Bataille’s thought by considering his influences, affiliations and theoretical formulations. One of Bataille’s central contributions to a-theological thinking is the centrality of the sacred in modern life. Written in the 1940s and published posthumously, Theory of Religion provides an important account of Bataille’s account of the sacred. Bataille was involved in a number of fringe left-wing political and cultural organizations. Bataille extrapolates from concepts in Alexandre Kojeve’s interpretation of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, but puts those concepts to radically different ends.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligion and European Philosophy
Subtitle of host publicationThinkers from Kant to Žižek
EditorsPhilip Goodchild , Hollis Phelps
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781315642253
ISBN (Print)9781138188525, 9781138188532
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


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