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The Accursed Share: An Essay on General Economy (Volumes 2 and 3)

by Robert Hurley Georges Bataille

The three volumes of The Accursed Share address what Georges Bataille sees as the paradox of utility: namely, if being useful means serving a further end, then the ultimate end of utility can only be uselessness. The first volume of The Accursed Share, the only one published before Bataille's death, treated this paradox in economic terms, showing that "it is not necessity but its contrary, luxury, that presents living matter and mankind with their fundamental problems." In the second and third volumes, The History of Eroticism and Sovereignty, Bataille explores the same paradox of utility from an anthropological and an ethical perspective, respectively. The History of Eroticism analyzes the fears and fascination, the prohibitions and transgressions attached to the realm of eroticism as so many expressions of the "uselessness" of erotic life. In the third volume, Batille raises the ethical problems of sovereignty, of "the independence of man relative to useful ends."

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