By Georges Bataille
Translated by Stuart Kendall
Introduction by Stuart Kendall

Subjects: Philosophy, Comparative Literature, Literature, Fiction, World War Ii
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary French Thought
Paperback : 9781438434629, 286 pages, January 2011
Hardcover : 9781438434612, 286 pages, January 2011

Table of contents

Translator’s Introduction: Autobiographia Atheologica
“Gratified Desire”
The Point of Ecstasy
The Accomplice
The Misfortunes of the Present Time
The Attraction of Gambling
The Divinity of Laughter
The Need for Laughter
Laughter and Trembling
The King of the Wood
Letter to X
Fragment on Knowledge, Action, and Interrogation
Two Fragments on the Opposition between Human Beings and Nature
Fragment on Christianity
Fragment on Guilt
Two Fragments on Laughter
Alleluia: The Catechism of Dianus

A searing personal record of spiritual and communal crisis, wherein the death of god announces the beginning of friendship.


Guilty is a searing personal record of spiritual and communal crisis, wherein the death of god announces the beginning of friendship. It takes the form of a diary, recording the earliest days of World War Two and the Nazi occupation of France, but this is no ordinary day book: it records the author's journey through a war-torn world without transcendence. Bataille's spiritual journey is also an intellectual one, a trip with Hegel, Kierkegaard, Blake, Baudelaire, and Nietzsche as his companions. And it is a school of the flesh wherein eroticism and mysticism are fused in a passionate search for pure immanence. Georges Bataille said of his work: "I teach the art of turning horror into delight. " This new translation of Guilty is the first to include the full text from Bataille's Oeuvres Complètes. The text includes Bataille's notes and drafts, which permit the reader to trace the development of the book from diary to draft to published text, as well as annotations of Bataille's source materials. An extensive and incisive introductory essay by Stuart Kendall situates the work historically, biographically, and philosophically. Guilty is Bataille's most demanding, intricate, and multi-layered work, but it is also his most personal and moving one.

Georges Bataille (1897–1962), a medievalist librarian by training, founded the College of Sociology and the secret society Acéphale. He was equally famous for his contributions to French literature, art criticism, anthropology, philosophy, and theology. Bane of theologians, existentialists, and surrealists during his lifetime, he became an essential reference for the poststructuralist generation of French intellectuals, including Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida. Stuart Kendall is a writer, editor, and translator working at the intersections of modern and contemporary art and design, critical theory, poetics, and theology. He is the author of the critical biography Georges Bataille and has also edited and translated two other books by Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge and The Cradle of Humanity: Prehistoric Art and Culture, along with works by Maurice Blanchot, Paul Eluard, Jean Baudrillard, and Guy Debord. He is the editor of the online magazine Design/Culture/Criticism.


"This important new edition and translation of French philosopher and poet Georges Bataille's wartime diary, first published in 1944, stands as a crucial record of the intimate thoughts and imagery that would become the ground for his later, and better known, works on eroticism and mysticism … Highly recommended. " — CHOICE