Customer Review

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 4 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Story of the Eye: By Lord Auch (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I was led to this work by my interest in the history of the Surrealist movement, particularly, the exploration of pornographic literature and how its manifestations has influenced Art in the 20th century. Needless to say the content of this book and others (Sade's late 18th century works provide the basis for any significant discussion) provides an uncomfortable analysis into the brutalisation of sexual behaviour, criminality and dark subconscious desires. For me Bataille deforms the emotional and physical forces of sexual pleasure into a fictionalised account of Freudian dimensions that monstrously perverts the `normal' view of sex held by most enlightened members of educated societies. In doing so the tale's protagonists appear to inhabit a dreamscape of metaphorical imagery (predominately the shape and texture of the eye), performing sexual acts that are aesthetically antithetical and which cannot be accepted (by me at least) as rational or sexually stimulating. Indeed I feel that Bataille is deliberately challenging the reader's imagination to such an extent that the poetry of the narrative itself becomes a means of transgression that can only exist in the unconscious mind albeit recognisable in dreams. Furthermore the sexual perversions and surreal fetishes of these characters should be seen as a form of madness of anarchic proportions that dismisses recognisable moral constructs and leads to despair and death. As Art this is in my view an important work and should not be ignored by those interested in the complexity of human thought and the power of imagination. I would recommend reading Sontag's excellent essay prior to the tales. Unfortunately I found Roland Barthes' article demanding because of my very limited understanding of linguistics.
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