Since the publication in France of his Oeuvres Completes in the mid-1970s, the breadth of Bataille's writing and influence has become increasingly apparent across the disciplines in, for example, the fields of literature, art, art history, philosophy, critical theory, sociology, economics, and anthropology. He is now held by many to be one of the most profound thinkers of the century, the enormous ramifications of whose work have yet to be fully grasped. In response to this growing interest, The Bataille Reader includes key texts from the broad spectrum of Bataille's work, from the early essays interrogating surrealism and cultural politics in the 1930s, down to texts from The Accursed Share (1949, translated 1988), a major engagement in post-Marxist economic theory generally regarded as being his most important work. Generous coverage is given to Bataille's speculations, also of the 1930s, on the limits of being, experience and identity, as well as to his post-war engagements with existentialism, Marxism, and Hegelianism.
The major texts are interspersed with some of the brilliantly punctual essays Bataille produced throughout his career as a prolific essayist, reviewer and originator of highly-influential journals, such as Documents, Acephale and Critique. Clearly introduced and comprehensively annotated by the editors, this book provides the best single-volume coverage of Bataille's work available.
Fred Botting and Scott Wilson both teach in the Department of English at Lancaster University. They are co-editors of George Bataille: A Critical Reader (1997). Fred Bottings publications include Gothic (1996). Scott Wilson is the author of Cultural Materialism: Theory and Practice (Blackwell Publishers, 1995).