Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939 Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why was it a mistake for Bataille to use his intellectual violence on Breton?

2. Why did Bataille attack Nietzsche?

3. What does the title of "The Solar Anus" refer to?

4. What writer coined the term conspicuous consumption?

5. Where did Bataille go to school?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Bataille's involvement with the Popular Front.

2. What are the terrifying images in "[Dream]"?

3. How does the notion of parody apply to the sun in "The Solar Anus"?

4. What is the value of Gnosticism in "Base Materialism and Gnosticism"

5. What does Bataille say about 'freaks' in "The Deviations of Nature"?

6. Describe the change in Bataille's early work to his more mature work and values.

7. Describe the importance of myth in Bataille's writing and thinking.

8. How does Bataille describe his role in "The Jesuve"?

9. How would you characterize Bataille's thoughts on society and economy?

10. Describe Bataille's religion in childhood.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How has the importance of obscenity in literature changed since Bataille's time? Research the reactions to Bataille and to other writers who used disorienting or profane language during Bataille's time, and describe the changes that have taken place in readers' response to obscene or profane or sacrilegious material.

Essay Topic 2

Assess the claim that Bataille's thinking cannot be reduced to a particular theme or set of values. What is the role of multiplicity and contradiction in Bataille's writing?

Essay Topic 3

Describe Bataille's opposition to dialectics. Is he consistent with his own anti-dialectic stance in his writing? Identify the places where Bataille's writing is most successful in opposing dialectics.

(see the answer keys)

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