For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

On Nietzsche

by Bataille, Georges (1992)


A poetic, philosophical, and political account of Nietzsche’s importance to Bataille, and of Bataille’s experience in Nazi-occupied France.Georges Bataille wrote On Nietzsche in the final months of the Nazi occupation of France in order to cleanse the German philosopher of the “stain of Nazism.” More than merely a treatise on Nietzsche, the book is as much a work of ethics in which thought is put to the test of experience and experience pushed to its limits. At once personal and political, it was written as an act of war, its publication contingent upon the German retreat. The result is a poetic and philosophical—and occasionally harrowing—record of life during wartime.Following Inner Experience and Guilty, On Nietzsche is the third volume of Bataille’s Summa Atheologica. Haunted by the recognition that “existence cannot be at once autonomous and viable,” herein the author yearns for community from the depths of personal isolation and transforms Nietzsche’s will to power into his own will to chance.This new translation includes Memorandum, a selection of 280 passages from Nietzsche’s works edited and introduced by Bataille. Originally published separately, Bataille planned to include the text in future editions of On Nietzsche. This edition also features the full notes and annotations from the French edition of Bataille’s Oeuvres Complètes, as well as an incisive introductory essay by Stuart Kendall that situates the work historically, biographically, and philosophically.

Key Passage

For the "individual as entirety" or the individual who has experienced impalement: the fatality of not being    fully possessed of his or her intellectual resources. The fatality of work  done in a slipshod. or messy way. We live under a threat, since the function we employ tends to supplant us! This function can't be  employed in excess, We escape the danger only by overlooking it.  Work  done in a  slipshod or  messy way--often-is the sole means  of not becoming a function. The opposite danger is as great, though (vagueness. imprecision. mysticism). The notion  of ebb and flow. There's a deficiency we have to admit  here. "We do not have the right to wish for a single state. We have to desire to become periodic beings; like existence."  (p.130)


Nietzsche, Bataille, German, Political Theory, War, Nazism, National Socialism, Wartime


On Nietzsche, Bataille Citations

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