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Title: Reading excess : transgression and communication in/between the theory and fiction of Georges Bataille
Author: Tzirkoti, Alexandra
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 3519
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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Georges Bataille is a thinker whose work is especially hard to encapsulate within disciplinary boundaries, owing to his engagement with a vast and seemingly contradicting array of genres and themes: from philosophy to sociology, ethnography and economics, to art, poetry and fiction. Bataille’s work defies easy systematisation and has accordingly provoked a heterogeneous range of critical responses. This thesis aims to approach Bataille’s work as a whole, taking into account that wholeness in Bataille cannot be approached from an objective or strictly ‘scientific’ perspective. Bataille himself claimed to have engaged with a project that opposes the notion of utility, that aims to communicate what is found in excess, in moments where discourse and knowledge fail; in other words, in his experience which, although ‘internal’, must be communicated to the reader. In order to address this difficult integrality of Bataille’s work, I pursue a focus on transgression, as the notion that serves to unify the different aspects of Bataille’s thought and that brings out their fundamental connection. Transgression signifies the moment when the rational, discursive universe is abolished and temporality is measured in terms of the present, replacing future concern - necessarily linked to usefulness and accumulation - by unproductive expenditure. Its fundamental value on an existential level, highlighted in the content of his work, is accompanied by another level, by the very act of writing where language is itself disrupted. This paradoxical project of writing that which exceeds language is in need of another narrative, that of fiction, whose reading cannot be separated from the theoretical ideas underlining it and vice versa. In this thesis, Bataille’s novels are treated as a direct source of his thought, bringing to the fore the importance of the reader as having an active role in his project of communicating what he calls an inner experience. The thesis is divided into two parts: in the first I approach Bataille’s theoretical writings via a series of related themes: economics, sacrifice, inner experience and eroticism. In the second part, I approach these themes through successive chapters on Bataille’s major fictional writings: Story of the Eye, Madame Edwarda, Blue of Noon and My Mother.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available