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Louis XXX : The little one, and, The tomb of Louis XXX by Georges Bataille | 26-Aug-15

Staff Pick from our Poetry Library Open Day 2014

Louis XXX : The little one, and, The tomb of Louis XXX  / Georges Bataille ; translated and commentary by Stuart Kendall -- London : Equus Press, c2013.

Bataille's interest in the dissolution of boundaries of selfhood led him to examine a variety of behaviours from the relatively mundane such as crying and laughing to the outer limits of physical and psychological pain and pleasure, and, of course, all the vagaries of sexual activity and passion. Ultimately, poetry was a let down for him because its need to exist in language stopped it from approaching these limits even when it tried:

...each word is nothing because it doesn't reach beyond words...

Nevertheless, his writing as translated here by Stuart Kendall, is always beautiful, and his subject matter never less than compelling. The two texts that comprise Louis XXX give some idea of how audacious and uncatagorisable Bataille was as writer and thinker - he can come across as a worldly sage, then a tender lover, then an evil reprobate all in one sentence. It can seem like an amazing trick - except it's not a trick, Bataille's sincerity shines through. Indeed, it's this sincerity than can disarm and shock and challenge. There really isn't another writer like him.

Pascal O'Loughlin
Assistant Librarian

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