Author(s): Georges Bataille
The three volumes of "The Accursed Share" address what Georges Bataille sees as the paradox of utility: namely, if being useful means serving a further end, then the ultimate end of utility can only be uselessness. The first volume, the only one published before Bataille's death, treated this paradox in economic terms, showing that "it is not necessity but its contrary, luxury, that presents living matter and mankind with their fundamental problems." In the second and third volumes, "The History of Eroticism" and "Sovereignty", Bataille explores the same paradox of utility from an anthropological and an ethical perspective, respectively. "The History of Eroticism" analyzes the fears and fascination, the prohibitions and transgressions attached to the realm of eroticism as so many expressions of the "uselessness" of erotic life. In the third volume, Bataille raises the ethical problems of sovereignty, of "the independence of man relative to useful ends."
" The Accursed Share is a brilliant Product of [Bataille"s] loony-toons coupling of critical genres: pseudo/antisurrealist manifestos, leftist political treatises, erotics, Hegel "n" Nietzsche studies, mysticism, anthropology, and sun worship... This strange and impressive book should not be ignored." Erik Davis , Voice Literary Supplement (review of volume I)
Georges Bataille (1897-1962) was a French writer, essayist, and philosopher whose works include Story of the Eye, Blue of Noon, Accursed Share and Theory of Religion.