The accursed share: an essay on general economy

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Zone Books, 1988 - 200 pages
20 Reviews
Most Anglo-American readers know Bataille as a novelist. The Accursed Share provides an excellent introduction to Bataille the philosopher. Here he uses his unique economic theory as the basis for an incisive inquiry into the very nature of civilization. Unlike conventional economic models based on notions of scarcity, Bataille's theory develops the concept of excess: a civilization, he argues, reveals its order most clearly in the treatment of its surplus energy. The result is a brilliant blend of ethics, aesthetics, and cultural anthropology that challenges both mainstream economics and ethnology.

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Review: The Accursed Share 2-3: The History of Eroticism and Sovereignty

User Review  - Alexander Panagiotou - Goodreads

An exhausting, but fascinating read. From ritual sacrifice to gift giving, love and prostitution, kings and communists, Nietzsche and Jesus - Bataille roves though the archives of humanity to give ... Read full review

Review: The Accursed Share 1: Consumption

User Review  - Chris Nagel - Goodreads

Intriguing opening salvo. I'm profoundly puzzled by the connection between the analyses of economies and self-consciousness. I gather that the limited economies discussed here, and the limited ... Read full review


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About the author (1988)

Bataille was a medievalist librarian by training. 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.

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