September 14th, 2010 / 2:05 pm
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Bataille’s Lone TV Interview: On Lit & Evil (1958)

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73 Comments

  1. jereme

      i have a feeling we will be debating this one later.

      ego is a precursor to art. almost always.

  2. jereme

      there is “real” suffering and there is “mental” suffering.

      which are you talking about.

  3. Ken Baumann

      I agree with you. How couldn’t it be? (automatic art? machine made? but, then, if it’s assigned as artistic, as art…) Ego is the birthing mom of form, and also the sucking child.

  4. Ken Baumann

      Both. I know this leads to suffering = conflict, no conflict = no foundation of form, no base for story, expression, etc. There’s gotta be some book that’s completely of one mindset and nothing changes; why do we often think that kind of thought/art is bad again?

  5. Ken Baumann

      strike ‘bad’, substitute ‘not interesting’

  6. jereme

      i mean to say, there is real suffering (i.e. starvation) and there is mental suffering (i.e. conditioning through teaching aka dogma of the majority).

      i think art will always exist with the latter. they are born out of the same thing.

  7. jereme

      if the mother & child are aware of their condition, can they not break away?

  8. Ken Baumann

      For the child: to do so is to wilt and die.
      For the mother: to do so is to wilt and die.

  9. jereme

      a cycle does not move on its own accord.

  10. Ken Baumann

      or: for the maker: stop making
      for the audience: stop experiencing

  11. John Domini

      Blake, thanks from *le coeur.* This argument remains an essential touchstone what matters in the novel (especially) — all the more so since it’s so fearfully derided by so many so-called critical readers here in North America (cf., that Glenn Beck of lit-crit, John Gardner). Evil remains crucial to storytelling of significance, & not simply in the obvious sense of an obstacle.

      The problem is, no writer can get at transcendent evil simply by throwing in bad behavior. That’s the mistake, too often: forcing a character to become, say, a nasty Mom who hooks her son on heroin. The evil must emerge more organically & operate like a penetrating agent, seeping to core social or cultural issues. Nabokov’s pederast matters not just because he likes little girls, but because of how America suddenly affords him freedom to live out his fantasy. More recently, hmm, perhaps Zachary Mason’s LOST BOOKS OF THE ODYSSEY strikes us so sharply because it enacts the evil of shredding classics, book-burning.

  12. Owen Kaelin

      Interesting, the sort of trouble that arises when you take a word and define it however you want and then try to extend that definition beyond the nurturing confines of the canvas.

      …Or if you take a concept that you conceive from an artistic work and then assume that to be a blanket description of all art.

  13. jereme

      why can’t the creator create something different?

  14. Bobby Alter

      pussies like milk

      …not to interrupt or anything.

  15. Ken Baumann

      I think that’s probably the best and only practice; the ego reapplication/modification.

  16. Ken Baumann

      Bobby: Who says the mother leaks milk? Who says the baby drinks from her breast?

      :)

  17. John Minichillo

      Seems to react to a certain kind of art and attendant feelings. There is playfulness, which is childish, but also guiltless, even joyful. And this is also interesting but not transgressive, violent, or sexual – not related to taboo. I’m wondering why childishness is framed in terms of economy, not by the art itself, but the real life / livelihood of the artist. Calling artists childish because they aren’t supported by the economy seems odd. In another culture they might be supported / reveared – are they still childish if they happen to be rich? Are they guilty if the parents encouraged art?

  18. deadgod

      Ken, it sounds like you’re asking – a bit above on the thread – whether one has been caused to feel “angry” by a work of art – or any object of human manufacture; or (why not) by a process or object of nature – not as a sympathetic resonance, and not (in the case of art) because the thing was crap. Not me.

      The position of a deliberately affectless, unaffecting story is, itself, interesting, but (for me) almost always merely “interesting” as an exercise in technique. For example, a description of objects in a room, presented as a ‘short story’: it’s overwhelmingly likely to be a lot more “interesting” that the piece is called a ‘story’ than that it’ll interest (me, anyway) as a ‘story’.

      Beckett might be a counter-example:

      “I took advantage of being at the seaside to lay in a store of sucking stones. They were pebbles but I call them stones. Yes, on this occasion I laid in a considerable store. I distributed them equally between my four pockets, and sucked them turn and turn about. This raised a problem which I first solved in the following way. I had say sixteen stones, four in each of my four pockets [. . .] ”

      – and eight semi-famous pages follow, in which Molloy explains his “two incompatible bodily needs, at loggerheads” to suck the stones in “equal distribution” and to suck the stones “with method” (he wants each stone to be equally sucked, in accordance with his sense of order (?)). Well, whatever.

      Except that, as you read about the patterns of movement of the stones from pocket to pocket and, one at a time, Molloy’s mouth, you find that you’re taking pleasure in the undulations and rationalizations of the sentences.

      Ken, you probably won’t feel “anger” reading Molloy, but you should feel something – is this what you’re getting at?

  19. Sean

      Thank you, joyed the gunkier nooks of my day.

  20. Owen Kaelin

      Interesting, the sort of trouble that arises when you take a word and define it however you want and then try to extend that definition beyond the nurturing confines of the canvas.

      …Or if you take a concept that you conceive from an artistic work and then assume that to be a blanket description of all art.

  21. Janey Smith

      Georges Bataille walks his girlfriend, Laure, around Paris in a dog collar. Has anyone around here read Laure’s stuff? I have photographs of them hanging out at where Sade’s chateau used to be, smoking hash, getting lazy.

  22. Janey Smith

      Georges Bataille walks his girlfriend, Laure, around Paris in a dog collar. Has anyone around here read Laure’s stuff? I have photographs of them hanging out at where Sade’s chateau used to be, smoking hash, getting lazy.

  23. Ken Baumann

      Exactly what I’m getting at. Beckett manages that threshold of presenting both movement and examination all the while making something feel new.