The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2001-09-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Minnesota Pr
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A deft reconstruction of what Georges Bataille envisioned as a continuation of his work La Somme Atheologique, this volume brings together the writings of one of the foremost French thinkers of the twentieth century on the central topic of his oeuvre. These essays, aphorisms, notes, and lectures on nonknowledge, sovereignty, and sacrifice clarify and extend Bataille's radical theology, his philosophy of history, and his ecstatic method of meditation. As laid out in Bataille's notebooks, editor Stuart Kendall assembles the fragments that Bataille anticipated collecting for his summa. Kendall's introduction offers a clear picture of the author's overall project, its historical and biographical context, and the place of these works within it. The "system" that emerges is "atheology," understood as a study of the effects of nonknowledge. At the other side of realism, Bataille pushes language to its silent end. And yet, writing toward the ruin of language, in search of words that slip from their meanings, Bataille uses language -- and the discourses of theology, philosophy, and literature -- against itself to return us to ourselves, endlessly. The system against systems is in fact systematic, using systems and depending on discourses to achieve its own ends -- the end of systematic thought. Book jacket.

Author Biography

A medievalist librarian by training, Georges Bataille (1897-1962) was active in the French intellectual scene from the 1920s through the 1950s. He founded the journal Critique and was a member of the Acephale group and the College de sociologie. Stuart Kendall and Michelle Kendall are freelance translators who live in Stony Brook, New York

Table of Contents

A Note on the Translationp. ix
Editor's Introduction: Unlimited Assemblagep. xi
Socratic Collegep. 5
Nietzsche's Laughterp. 18
Discussion on Sinp. 26
Method of Meditationp. 77
The Absence of Godp. 103
Initial Postulatep. 105
The Consequences of Nonknowledgep. 111
The Teaching of Deathp. 119
Nonknowledge and Rebellionp. 129
Nonknowledge, Laughter, and Tearsp. 133
Aphorisms for the "System"p. 153
The Sovereignp. 185
Nonknowledgep. 196
Post-Scriptum 1953p. 206
Aphorismsp. 210
Beyond Seriousnessp. 212
The Congested Planetp. 221
Pure Happinessp. 224
Notebook for "Pure Happiness"p. 236
Outside The Tears of Erosp. 257
Notesp. 275
Indexp. 295
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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