The Big Toe  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Big Toe[1] ("Le gros orteil") is an essay by French philosopher Georges Bataille (1897 – 1962) first published in Documents (1929, issue 6) accompanied by three photos by Jacques-André Boiffard (1902 - 1961).

The photos were close-ups of big toes, two of man's big toe (30 years old) and one by a woman (aged 24).

Incipit of the essay:

"The big toe is the most human part of the human body, in the sense that no other element of this body is as differentiated from the corresponding element of the anthropoid ape (chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, or gibbon)." tr. Iain White

One of Boiffard's toes is depicted on the cover of Rosalind E. Krauss's book The Originality of the Avant-Garde.

Roland Barthes's 1972 text on Georges Bataille, "Les sorties du texte," references it extensively.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Big Toe" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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