For Bataille, the absence of myth had itself become the myth of the modern age. In a world that had lost the secret of its cohesion, Bataille saw surrealism as both a symptom and a beginning of an attempt to address this loss. His writings on this theme are the result of a profound reflection in the wake of World War Two.
The Absence of Myth is the most incisive study yet made of surrealism, insisting on its importance as a cultural and social phenomenon with far-reaching consequences. Clarifying Bataille's links with the surrealist movement, and throwing revealing light on his complex and greatly misunderstood relationship with Andre Breton, The Absence of Myth shows Bataille to be a much more radical figure than his postmodernist devotees would have us believe: a man who continually tried to extend Marxist social theory; a pessimistic thinker, but one as far removed from nihilism as can be.
“One of the most original and unsettling of those thinkers who, in the wake of Sade and Nietzsche, have confronted the possibility of thought in a world that has lost its myth of transcendence.”
“Bataille has survived the death of God.”
“Richardson's readable and accurate translations are carefully annotated, making this a useful collection for English readers.”
“The book is never less than fascinating and reveals Bataille as a wit as well as a thinker.”
“An illuminating historical document.”
“Challenging and terrifying.”