A kiss is the beginning of cannibalism.
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Sans titre (study for Histoire de l’Oeil) by Hans Bellmer, 1946
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she kills me
I divine her
That sand into which we bury ourselves in order not to see, is formed of words…and it is true that words, their labyrinths, the exhausting immensity of their “possibles”, in short their treachery, have something of quicksand about them.
Georges Bataille, L’expérience intérieure, translation by Leslie Ann Boldt
I know: she is the one that pleases you “to death” now, to death from pleasure. I know because I know all that you have lived. All that you live.
Laure in a letter to Georges Bataille, from Laure: the Collected Writings.
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I stretched out in the grass, my skull on a large, flat rock and my eyes staring straight up at the milky way, that strange breach of astral sperm and heavenly urine across the cranial vault formed by the ring of constellations: that open crack at the summit of the sky, apparently made of ammoniacal vapors shining in the immensity (in empty space, where they burst forth absurdly like a rooster’s crow in total silence), a broken egg, a broken eye, or my own dazzled skull weighing down the rock, bouncing symmetrical images back to infinity.
Communication for Bataille is first and foremost a bodily affair. Hence the interrogation of the limits of the subject starts from an interrogation of what we could call the “gates” or openings of the body: the mouth, the vagina, the anus and the eyes are for Bataille central places for philosophical investigation, because at these gates, the integrity of the subject is questioned; its limits can be transgressed.
Nidesh Lawtoo, Bataille and the Suspension of Being
Nausea, happiness, they were blending indistinguishably.
Georges Bataille, My Mother.
Intimacy cannot be expressed discursively. The swelling to the bursting point, the malice that breaks out with clenching teeth and weeps; the sinking feeling that doesn’t know where it comes from or what it’s about; the fear that sings its head off in the dark; the white-eyed pallor, the sweet sadness, the rage and the vomiting … are so many evasions.
There is horror in being: this horror is repugnant animality; this does not repel me, on the contrary, I thirst for it; far from escaping, I may resolutely quench my thirst with this horror … for this I have filthy words at my disposal, words that sharpen the feeling I have of touching on the intolerable secret of being … at this moment I no longer doubt that I am embracing the totality without which I was only outside: I reach orgasm.
Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share, translation by Rowan G. Tepper
I don’t want your love unless you know I am repulsive, and love me even as you know it.
In order to reach the limits of ecstasy in which we lose ourselves in bliss we must always set an immediate boundary to it: horror. Not only can pain, my own or that of other people, carry me nearer to the moment when horror will seize hold of me and bring me to a state of bordering on delirium, but there is no kind of repugnance whose affinity with desire I do not discern. Horror is sometimes confused with fascination, but if it cannot suppress and destroy the element of fascination it will reinforce it. Danger has a paralysing effect, but if it is a mild danger it can excite desire. We can only reach a state of ecstasy when we are conscious of death and annihilation, even if remotely.
Pierre Angelique [Georges Bataille], Madame Edwarda, 3rd ed., 1956.
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Illustrations by Hans Bellmer for Georges Bataille’s Madame Edwarda
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