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Sensible EcstasyMysticism, Sexual Difference, and the Demands of History$
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Amy Hollywood

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780226349510

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226349466.001.0001

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The Scandal of the Real

The Scandal of the Real

(p.36) 1 The Scandal of the Real
Sensible Ecstasy
University of Chicago Press

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

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