Erotism: Death and Sensuality
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
L'Érotisme is a French language philosophical book by Georges Bataille first published in 1957 by Les Éditions de Minuit in Paris. It was translated as Eroticism [sic] by Mary Dalwood and published by Marion Boyars in 1962, and later published by City Lights under the title Erotism: Death and Sensuality (1986). The subject of the book is eroticism and its relation to transgression and the continuity/discontinuity of life. The text is best-known for connecting sex and death.
- ...In essence, the domain of eroticism is the domain of violence, of violation... The most violent thing of all for us is death which jerks us out of a tenacious obsession with the lastingness of our discontinuous being. We blench at the thought that the separate individuality within us must be suddenly snuffed out... We cannot imagine the transition from one state to another one basically unlike it without picturing the violence done to the being called into existence through discontinuity. Not only do we find in the uneasy transitions of organisms engaged in reproduction the same basic violence which in physical eroticism leaves us gasping, but we also catch the inner meaning of that violence. What does physical eroticism signify if not a violation of the very being of its practitioners -- a violation bordering on death, bordering on murder?