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3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 9 January 2006
Story of the Eye is not so much an erotic text, as an exploration on what it is that drives every human- desire. Desire to live, breath eat, make love, our lives revolve around it, and if there was no desire we would not be alive.It is a mistake to have Batailles novella down as an erotic fiction- it is so much more than that. He exorcises his demons through eroticism at its highest level, in order to find a release, or death, of that wanting, which can never be resolved. It is an important read, and whatever it is you take away from it, it will be something important.
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on 22 March 1998
"The Story of the Eye" is the finest book ever written about the idea that one can take pleasure from acts like sitting down in a puddle of milk, placing a plucked eyeball in one's most intimate anatomical area, and inserting a hard-boiled egg into one's rectum. Experimental, arrogant, and sexually insatiable, the novel's two young lovers embark on a carnal odyssey (involving, among other things, suicide and some blasphemous debauchery in a confessional) that is, simply put, not for the faint of heart.
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on 5 July 2005
If you're thinking plot and characterization, you're missing the point. This is modernism all the way: vignettes with their own individual logic which do thread together, but not in the way of an epic which builds and smooths out contradictions. It works perfectly as an erotic text because it illuminates the way desire catches on the tiniest of details, magnifying each beyond the reach of rational discourse. It moves skilfully, evading the capture of novelistic conventions, denying a too easy satisfaction. It's precisely these qualities which make it great erotic writing; it allows the reader to engage their own desires in the gaps which a lesser novel would be tempted to fill in. It's not there to be understood, it's to be revelled in!
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on 11 February 2006
Bataille's novel is a book about which one can argue endlessly whether it is pornographic or art or both. This is the point. It is easy to see how one can dismiss the novel as smut. However, in order to really understand the metaphorical language and the connection of themes within the novel one must dwell in Sontag's and Barthes' essays (incorporated within the book) that may change one's perspective about the graphic but beautifully written content of the book. In fact, the essays form an integral piece to understand contemporary French writing. To push it to the extreme, talking about it is philosophising.
The story of the eye offers to both camps: those that want to have a quick mesmerising read and those who are interested in understanding a modern continental perspective on a philosophy of art.
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on 4 December 2015
The best way to explain this book is that is has been obviously written to shock; it's an unabashed collection of disturbing eroticism, sadism, insanity, surrealism and violence. This book is really a series of sexual encounters - over and over again we are given story after story full of surreal sexual violence and attack. The short read simply revolves around a male's desire and fascination with a friend Simone and a young girl names Marcelle. The three flirt and indulge in truly shocking games; in one particularly shocking episode Marcelle reacts terribly, coming out of her coquettish nature and loses her mind. Insitutionalised Simone and our male character break her out of said asylum. From here I think Bataille loses it and the plot loses control. I'm not going to say any more because it's too difficult to write about and my mother reads my blog so I'm not going to go into too much detail but there's a lot of unconstrained, very pornographic sex.

I was a little repulsed by this book; the amount of urine that is passed during the sexual encounters was not only difficult to read about but was terribly misogynistic. It's animalistic, and Simone has a penchant for eggs; there are a good few pages where Simone throws said eggs into the toilet and there her obsession grows to an obscene amount. The final scene is an aggressive orgy event; here we see the three kill a man and use his dead body as part of the proceedings. So yes, that's a thing.

Did I enjoy this? No? Am I glad I've read it, yes? (is that a weird thing to say?) I've never read something quite so out there and aggressive in nature. I'm not sure why it's been written other than the author to say - right I'm just going write whatever the hell I want and see what people say about it. This is not necessarily a bad thing but there's just no more too it really; it feels as like what is the worst thing I could put down on paper? The writing swells and fades but at times it takes a nature that is so truly warped it's a little difficult to truly understand what is happening however that may be me and my difficulty to read what I was supposed to be reading. The characters aren't fully formed - probably because that's not the point on the book ie a story but it does create an even more surreal feel to the book as a whole.
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on 26 March 1998
This tale travels in lurid sketches detailing the experiences & experiments of 3 people who lived up at their own & got away with it.Their obsessions & fantasies executed in highly mysterious & near supernatural imagery leave a detachingly cold atmosphere in short & cluttered sentences occassionally highlighted by bits of lyricism.Their sinister perversions & mania for the gravel of sexual satisfaction & eventual accomplishment of this stretches the boundaries of subcultural degeneracy a bit furhther.The characters analogousness in each undertaking exemplify mankind fulfilling the natural dictates of what I would call the "Basic Fixative Essence" of things.Simone's fascination for the things she satisfies herself on is a perfect illustration of man rediscovering the core of his basest desires.Fetishisms arise in ecstatic motions in this slightly revolutionary novelette,including the famous augmentation of the sex impulse through the rending sights & scents of nature.The piece powerfully ends in a revealing sadness surprising for it's romantic symbolitry imprinted by an unforgettable vision of sight.These works of art are best appreciated when one has no preconceived notions;when one can enter it's world & LIVE IN IT rather than merely browsing through.
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on 15 June 1999
"Story of the Eye" is a visit to the extremes of Bataille's consciousness; blessed are those who return intact from this horrific journey. More 'real life' than Sade, this is an excellent example for Shattuck's formulation of "forbidden knowledge". A must for connoisseurs of pornographic literature.
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on 28 January 2009
I found the book to be highly captivating, largely due to the writing style, which is fast and informative, making it very hard to lose attention! As a result of this, i read the entire book in one go, and i know that there aren't reams and reams of pages, but i rarely do that at all.
Several people have commented that some parts are brief, but whilst i did sometimes notice this, i found that it was still pretty coherent, and simply required that the reader had been paying attention, which caused the book also, to leave just the right amount to the imagination.
The accompanying essays are also of high quality, and Bataille's 'Coincidences' section, i found to be very useful, as i read the book, not just as literature, but also out of interest, concerning the Psychology of the matter. Bataille's recollections of his youth are highly illuminating, regarding the text.

Overall, a highly enjoyable and interesting read, written in an easily accessible and conscious style, which i would happily recommend!

...In fact, might even go and read it again!
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on 4 March 1998
one of the best books...entirely weird....maximum surrealism...i've read this 3 times and have forced it upon many friends....a wonderful dream...my first awakening into the fiercly extreme.....made me WANT to go insane....you know there were never any bounds........
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VINE VOICEon 4 November 2006
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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