No. 46, The Colour of the Sacred (March 2012)

Please click on section titles to download the issue:

Table of Contents

01.       Contents

02.       Preface


03.       The Sacred

04.       Communication

05.       The Sorcerer’s Apprentice


06.       The Torture

07.       The Enigma of Sacrifice

08.       Sovereignty

09.       The Spectacle of Sacrifice


10.       The Night

11.       Trial by Death

12.       Eroticism

13.       The Erotic Image


14.       The Dance

15.       The Movement of Transgression

16.       The Point of Ecstasy

17.       Summit and Decline

18.       Conclusion

19.       Plates

20.       Bibliography

Georges Bataille was a writer of what the French call ‘erotic novellas’, but these constitute the smallest part of his expansive oeuvre. He might more accurately be described as a philosopher, yet he didn’t write a single work of philosophy, and if his varied writings have anything in common it is their shared intention to undermine the foundations of philosophy. He was a prolific essayist and editor of periodicals ranging from avant-garde journals to literary reviews. He was a critic of contemporary art and literature, an anthropologist, a sociologist, a political economist, a psychologist and a mystic. He wrote on the edges of Surrealism, Marxism and Existentialism, but never subscribed to any of these doctrines or belonged to the groups they formed. The groups he founded himself were generally secret, short-lived affairs which largely ended in failure. His many books were published in limited editions that piled up in printer’s warehouses, unread. Yet he himself was one of the most influential figures in the intellectual life of France between the 1920s and 1950s, and since his death in 1962 has been claimed as a forebear by some of the most important writers and philosophers of the last fifty years. This issue of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a book-length study titled ‘The Colour of the Sacred: Georges Bataille and the Image of Sacrifice’. It represents an ongoing reading spread over the whole month, the texts of which were posted to subscribers in twenty instalments between the 1st and 31st of March. It is published here, for the first time, on the 50th anniversary of Bataille’s death.


2 Responses to “No. 46, The Colour of the Sacred (March 2012)”

  1. John Cussans Says:

    Brilliant work! The section on Janet is particularly valuable personally but the entire project is impressive and inspiring. Thanks for making this available to us.

  2. […] called The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. In 2012, he produced a book-length work on Bataille, “The Colour of the Sacred,” which is a piece of extensive scholarship. However, what caught my eye in the chapter on […]

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