cover image My Mother; Madame Edwarda; And, the Dead Man

My Mother; Madame Edwarda; And, the Dead Man

Georges Bataille. Marion Boyars Publishers, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7145-2886-1

Existence, for Georges Bataille, ""is an unbearable surpassing of being, an act no less unbearable than that of dying . . . when the fullness of horror and of joy coincide."" His Nietzschean-inspired vision of erotic excess that is inseparable from the struggle to reach such moments of divinity had an indelible effect on French literature, especially influencing the existentialists. This new volume is comprised of three of his shorter works. The novella, My Mother, which remained unfinished, is concluded with the author's posthumous notes; it is a unique bildungsroman of a young man's sexual initiation and corruption by his mother. In Madame Edwarda, a man becomes erotically obsessed with an old whore who turns out to be God. The Dead Man recounts a young woman's journey from the deathbed of a friend to orgiastic excesses in the taproom of a rural inn. Included are an introduction by the late Yukio Mishima, a collection of essays on Bataille's philosophy by Ken Hollings and Bataille's own introductions to Madame Edwarda and The Dead Man (Sept.)