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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Story of the Eye (1928) by Georges Bataille

The Story of the Eye: Want page views? Write about pornography and have pictures of pornography.

Book Review
 Story of the Eye (1928)
by Georges Bataille
City Lights Press Edition 1987

   Here is a concrete fact about writing about literature on the internet: write about pornography.  It's not an easy thing to do- the list of acceptable, literary pornography is short and sweet: the works of Marquis de Sade, particularly 120 Days of Sodom and Justine. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence. You could argue the Beats had pornographic elements: Ginsberg in his poetry, Burroughs in his prose.   But the concept of literary pornography is almost an Oxymoron.   But I think a common, failing, if you will, in this area is a failure to be actually pornographic.  In other words, a single graphic sex scene doth not pornography make.  According to the obscenity standard laid out by the United States Supreme Court is that a work is NOT obscene if it has redeeming literary value.

  So Story of the Eye is for REAL pornographic.  A solid fascination with urine as a source of sexual pleasure. Multiple scenes of graphic violence coupled with sexual depravity. Bataille plugs in to a truly deep and disturbing current of thought linking the pleasure of sex and the pleasure in death.   It is a key literary theme of the 20th AND 21st century and Story of the Eye is hugely influential in that regard.

  Story of the Eye is also a key surrealist text, independent of its status as a classic of literary pornography.  Surrealism, which very much embraces the sex/death connection as a key constituent theme has common roots with literary pornography in the development of psychology/psychiatry as a science.  Though Story of the Eye is surreal by definition, it is not the familiar non-nonsensical imagery of the Dadaist wing of Surrealism, rather this is the realistic surrealism inspired by de Sade.  There are many, many throbbing cocks and ejaculations in the 80 pages of Story of the Eye.  Sooooo many throbbing cocks.

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