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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 21, May 21, 2006, Article 10

ON GEORGES BATAILLE

Regarding my query last week about George Bataille (who worked
at the Cabinet des Médailles in the Bibliothèque Nationale in
Paris), George Selgin writes: "Bataille (1897-1962) was certainly
a Marxist, but as far as I know no one has ever accused him of
being a numismatist! His interests, apart from eroticism, were
philosophy, ethnology and psychoanalysis.  Like many French writer-
intellectuals (and French people generally, come to think of it)
he probably didn't take his day job all that seriously.  French
literature happens to be a hobby of mine, hence this reply."

Hadrien Rambach writes: "I sold three copies of Bataille's main
numismatic article some time ago. Here is how I then described it:

An exceedingly rare and important offprint: Georges BATAILLE
(1897-1962), “Les Monnaies des grands Mogols au cabinet des
médailles”, Aréthuse, October 1926 and January 1927. Quarto, 32
pages and 3 plates. Original green wrappers.

This is a very rare offprint of the periodical Aréthuse (29
published issues, 1924-1930). It consists, in one single volume,
of an article published in the issues 13-14 of October 1926 and
January 1927.

This is only the second or third work to have been published by
Bataille, who was then a curator of the French Coin Cabinet. It
is then only that his celebrity expanded, for example with Histoire
de l'oeil in 1928. According to Denis Hollier (Against Architecture:
The Writings of Georges Bataille, 1989), some of Bataille’s comments
in this text about the Mogols rulers show already Bataille’s interest
for erotic excesses and sacrificial violence. Bataille is really
one of the “écrivains maudits” of France at that time.

The web-site Pegasos, from Finland, gives very good information on
Georges Bataille, with a biography by Petri Liukkonen
(bataille.htm).

The Boston book dealer Lame Duck Books used to have a copy of this
offprint for sale at $ 2,500 and the librarie Walden (Caen) now
offers one at $ 2,800."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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