by Bataille, Georges (1992)
A poetic, philosophical, and political account of Nietzsches importance to Bataille, and of Batailles 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 philosophicaland occasionally harrowingrecord of life during wartime.Following Inner Experience and Guilty, On Nietzsche is the third volume of Batailles 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 Nietzsches will to power into his own will to chance.This new translation includes Memorandum, a selection of 280 passages from Nietzsches 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 Batailles Oeuvres Complètes, as well as an incisive introductory essay by Stuart Kendall that situates the work historically, biographically, and philosophically.
If one day I broke apart. dividing if not my whole life from the masses. at least the important part of it-if the masses are dissolved in endless immanence-it would only happen at the cost of depleted strength! In the period in which I write, transcending the masses is like spitting in the air: what you spit out falls back on you ... Transcendence (noble existence. moral disdain an attitude of sublimity) has declined, becoming hypocrisy. It's still possible to transcend states of apathy, but only on condition of losing ourselves in immanence-and given that we fight for others too. I would feel averse to transcendent impulses (categoric decisions) if I didn't immediately grasp them as cancelled in a kind of immanence. What is basic for me is to exist on the human level and to transcend only the decline. the plaster decorations of transcendence. If I weren't myself on the level of workers, my transcendence above the workers would amount to a sticky gob of something at the end of my nose. That's how I feel at cafes, in public places ... I physically judge the people I mix with, and they can't be below or above a certain level. I'm deeply different from the workers. But the feelings of immanence I have when talking to them, that is, when we're together in our sympathies, are an indicator of my place in the world-a sign of the wave in the midst of ocean. The bourgeoisie, meantime, secretly jockeying with each other: apparently condemned to empty exteriority. On one hand. reduced to hypocrisy (the play-acting of pretending to be masters-lords of bygone days---connected with risking death, sword in hand), transcendence produces men whose vulgarity sheds light on deep immanence. Yet I picture the bourgeoisie as destroyed in a few legitimate bloodlettings. Wouldn't the equality of those who were still there then, wouldn't that infinite immanence in its tum make the monotonous reproduction of the workers pointless, wouldn't it render useless a multitude without history or difference? (p.149)
KeywordsNietzsche, Bataille, German, Political Theory, War, Nazism, National Socialism, Wartime
ThemesOn Nietzsche, Bataille Citations
Links to Reference
How to contribute.