Parts of Georges Bataille’s library are for sale – story here. As you’d expect, things are rather expensive…
A catalogue is available to buy – La bibliothèque de Georges Bataille – and to download as pdf here.
petit in-4, broché, couverture illustrée à rabats, non paginé (248 p.), nombreuses reproductions en couleur, index. Catalogue illustré comprenant une sélection chronologique de plus de 500 titres, la plupart dédicacés et emblématiques du parcours intellectuel de l’écrivain.
Update: an alternative link to the catalogue is here; and to the full inventaire here.
While this isn’t the whole of his library, the catalogue is interesting for telling us at least some of the books he owned. For example, it’s nice to know he did indeed have a copy of Henri Lefebvre’s book Nietzsche from 1939 – which, like his own work On Nietzsche was an attempt to rescue him from the Nazi appropriation. And I was pleasantly surprised to see he had a copy of Foucault’s Maladie mentale et psychologie, which appeared the year he died (1962).
Lots of stuff by Blanchot, Camus, Klossowski, Lacan (who married Bataille’s ex-wife), Nietzsche, Sartre (who wrote a really critical review of him)… Surprised to see only one thing by Walter Benjamin, who entrusted some of his papers to Bataille, who was among things in his life a numismatist at the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
The only trace of Georges Dumézil, who he discusses in a few places, is that Bataille had a copy of Mircea Eliade, Traité d’histoire des religions, for which Dumezil wrote the preface. There are some other things by Eliade, some dedicated to Bataille. I’ve only skimmed the catalogue, but it is well worth a look, and will become of lasting value, as this collection is sadly dispersed through its sale.
Update: there are a few early articles by Kostas Axelos, with dedications to Bataille. Axelos is, I think, the only person I’ve met who had met Bataille. “He was always so immaculately dressed. But the things he wrote!”
Update 2: A couple of years ago, during the first UK covid lockdown, I put together an attempt at a comprehensive list of English translations of works in George Bataille’s Oeuvres complètes and other French collections of his work.
Update 3: there is a wikipedia page with all the people mentioned in the catalogue and a link to their wikipedia pages – a useful resource. Thanks to David Palfrey for this.
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