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Story of the Eye (1928) - Georges Bataille

Related: 1928 - eye - Georges Bataille - erotic literature - transgressive literature - French literature

Story of the Eye is easily one of the most enduring texts of the 20th century. [Nov 2006]

The Story of the Eye (1928) - Georges Bataille [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
American cover of City Lights edition (1990s)

"I grew up very much alone, and as far back as I recall I was frightened of anything sexual. I was nearly sixteen when I met Simone, a girl my own age, at the beach in X. Our families being distantly related, we quickly grew intimate. Three days after our first meeting, Simone and I were alone in her villa. She was wearing a black pinafore with a starched white collar. I began realizing that she shared my anxiety at seeing her, and I felt even more anxious that day because I hoped she would be stark naked under the pinafore."

Illustrated by: Hans Bellmer

Bataille had an amazing interdisciplinary talent — he drew from diverse influences and used diverse modes of discourse to create his work. His The Story of the Eye, for example, published under the pseudonym Lord Auch (literally, Lord "to the shithouse" -- "auch" being slang for telling somebody off by sending them to the toilet), is pure pornography, and yet it has the philosophical and emotional depth of a great novel. The imagery of the novel is built upon a series of metaphors which in turn refer to philosophical constructs developed in his work: the eye, the egg, the sun, the earth, the testicle. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Bataille#Life_and_work

The Story of the Eye (1928) - Georges Bataille [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
French cover with illustration by Hans Bellmer


Histoire de l'oeil (Story of the Eye) is a book written by Georges Bataille which details the chronicles of a young man, and his decent into perversion.

The title of the work comes from the climactic ending, in which a human eyeball is inserted into a woman's vagina. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histoire_de_l%27oeil [Sept 2006]

Amazon review

Only Georges Bataille could write, of an eyeball removed from a corpse, that "the caress of the eye over the skin is so utterly, so extraordinarily gentle, and the sensation is so bizarre that it has something of a rooster's horrible crowing." Bataille has been called a "metaphysician of evil," specializing in blasphemy, profanation, and horror. Story of the Eye, written in 1928, is his best-known work; it is unashamedly surrealistic, both disgusting and fascinating, and packed with seemingly endless violations. It's something of an underground classic, rediscovered by each new generation. Most recently, the Icelandic pop singer Björk Guðdmundsdóttir cites Story of the Eye as a major inspiration: she made a music video that alludes to Bataille's erotic uses of eggs, and she plans to read an excerpt for an album. Warning: Story of the Eye is graphically sexual, and is only for adults who are not easily offended. [wonderfully mad transgressional love story, explicit lyrics? the 1947 edition was illustrated by Hans Bellmer, they are Bellmer's first published etchings]

The chamber music of pornographic literature

Bataille's first book was hailed by Barthes, Foucault and Camus as a founding text of Postmodernism, and by Susan Sontag as `the chamber music of pornographic literature, indicating the aesthetic possibilities of the genre ... Histoire de l'OEil is, in my opinion, the most perfect aesthetically of all pornographic fiction... [It] makes such an extreme and upsetting impression because Bataille understands more clearly than anyone else that pornography is ultimately not about sex, but death.' Working with a narrative of emergent juvenile sexuality and structuring it around a metaphoric framework of eye, egg, testicle and sun that in turn generates a series of surreal metamorphoses, Bataille creates a fiction of disturbing sexual power. The first edition, published in 1928, was illustrated by Andre Masson, but Bataille's text had to wait 19 years before it found its ideal illustrator in Bellmer, whose etchings make manifest Bataille's repressed childhood memories and traumas. --source unidentified

Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye (2004) - Andrew Repasky McElhinney

Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye (2004) - Andrew Repasky McElhinney
image sourced here.

Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye (2004) - Andrew Repasky McElhinney
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379797 [Apr 2005]

After the credits of Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye, we find ourselves in a kind of theatre where, to the tune of "Puttin' On My Top Hat," two young women (Melissa Elizabeth Forgione, Courtney Shea) are dancing on stage for an audience of one: a decadent young man (Sean Timothy Sexton) who looks like Robert Downey, Jr., at the end of Less Than Zero.  The dancers look like Mr. Peanut, the Planter's Peanuts ad icon - giant top-hatted heads mounted on tap-dancing legs - except that their "eyes" are breasts.  The young man seems to be controlling their movements with the kind of toggle-switch used for video games, which is cradled in his lap.

This witty visual metaphor for our sexual fantasies kicks off the third feature by Philadelphia's Andrew Repasky McElhinney, who is rapidly gaining an international reputation. Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye, should accelerate that process. McElhinney's first two features, Magdalen and A Chronicle of Corpses, are available on DVD from Alpha New Cinema. [...]

Bill Krohn has been the Los Angles correspondent of Cahiers du cinema since 1978. --http://www.armcinema25.com/GBSOTE_Local_Dec1003.html [Apr 2005]

See also: 1928 - 2004 - - Georges Bataille - Histoire de l'oeil

Histoire de l'oeil (1973) - Patrick Longchamps

Histoire de l'oeil (1973) - Patrick Longchamps
image sourced here.

Histoire de l'oeil de Patrick Longchamps
Pour Histoire de l'oeil (1973) de Patrick Longchamps est un cas encore plus bizarre. L'histoire est inspirée d'un roman de Georges Bataille. Le réalisateur a disparu au Mexique. Parfois je me demande si le film existe vraiment (1). A-t-il été terminé? La seule trace de son existence est le programme d'un festival italien dans lequel il est repris mais sans indication de durée et je sais que dans le catalogue des festivals il arrive qu'on reprenne des films non terminés. C'est un film mystérieux qu'on aimerait retrouver et voir!

Propos receuillis par Jean-Michel Vlaeminckx
(1) Paul Geens nous signale qu'il possède une copie VHS du film de Patrick Longchamps. Actuellement, le film est bloqué par les héritiers de Georges Bataille qui ont vendu en 1998 les droits cinématographiques de Histoire de l'oeil à une firme de production américaine qui semble être le string ou le cache-sexe d'une boîte de vidéo porno. Quant au réalisateur, il a disparu. --http://www.cinergie.be/cinergie/revue33/debat.html [Apr 2005]

Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye (2004) - Andrew Repasky McElhinney
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379797 [Apr 2005]

Story Of I (1997) - Jo Anne Kaplan

GB, 1997, 23 Min.
Jo Anne Kaplan, London

A woman sits alone in a bare, white-tiled bath, reading George Bataille's "Story of the Eye". The bizarre events described by the text provoke a series of fantasies in which the room and its accoutrements become the stage and the woman the main player. As her dreams unfold, she becomes the "eye" of the story and her own body the object of its gaze. With a feminine hand, "Story of I" plucks Bataille's central metaphor from its original context and re-invents its erotic vision from the inside-out. The eye in the vagina, seen through blood, urine and tears, looks at itself in the mirror. --http://www.transmediale.de/97/english/25.htm [Nov 2006]

In a major Hayward Night for the Gallery’s Undercover Surrealism exhibition, animate! joins forces with Halloween to present The New Flesh, a visceral evening of musical and cinematic interventions exploring Georges Bataille’s trademark themes of sex and death, and the legacy of his dissident surrealism in popular culture.

The New Flesh provides a rare chance to see the highly explicit and provocative mistress-piece Story of I (1997, UK, 21 mins), Jo Ann Kaplan’s improvisation on Georges Bataille’s infamous Histoire de l’Oeil. The film is a gender-twisting meditation on the erotic extremities of human desire, a highly explicit journey through the sexual foundations of Western visual culture and the intimate terrains of male and female bodies. With a feminine hand, Story of I plucks Bataille’s central metaphor from its original context and re-invents its erotic vision from the inside out. The eye is the vagina and, seen through the blood, urine and tears, it looks at itself in a mirror. --animateonline.org [Nov 2006]

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