Georges Bataille. Translated by Bruce Boone.
Venice: The Lapis Press, 1988. Octavo. Black buckram boards in a black unclipped pictorial dust wrapper, small scratches on the front, bottom bumped, slightly edgeworn, a couple dashes on the top of the text block, else fine. 161 pages. First American edition, signed by the translator. Near fine.
Originally published as Le Coupable in 1944. A wartime journal and part of Bataille's Summa Atheologica, Guilty is part memoir, part erotic manifesto, with dashes of philosophy, infused with mysticism and horror. As he meditates on life under Nazi occupation, Bataille also provides a profound commentary on Hegel, Kierkegaard, Blake, and Nietzsche. That's good company. This title demonstrates why Bataille, the great champion of excess, is such a house favorite. Written during a hot streak not unlike Dylan's in 1965-66. The mad French philosopher at his finest.
“There is some kind of identity between ‘woman’, ‘torment’ and ‘the ridiculous universe’—my need for self-destruction comes from them . . . To give up my sexual habits would mean I’d have to discover some other means of tormenting myself, though this torture would have to be as intoxicating as alcohol.”