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Ecce HomoThe Male-Body-in-Pain as Redemptive Figure$
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Kent L. Brintnall

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226074696

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226074719.001.0001

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(p.1) Prelude
Ecce Homo

Kent L. Brintnall

University of Chicago Press

This book begins by focusing on the concluding paragraphs of the final chapter of Georges Bataille's last book, which reflected on photographs of a Chinese man undergoing lingchi, a form of public execution accomplished by severing limbs and ripping flesh from the victim's body. The text records that “this photograph had a decisive role in [Bataille's] life.” According to Bataille, it reveals an intimate connection between religious and erotic experiences, an ecstatic rupture both blissful and horrific. In a recent study of the practice of lingchi in China and representations of lingchi in European scholarship, the authors fault Bataille for imposing a “mask of ecstatic suffering” that burdens the tortured person, consequently concealing him.

Keywords:   lingchi, Georges Bataille, public execution, ecstatic rupture, ecstatic suffering

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