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. In "Sacrificial Mutilation and the Severed Ear of Vincent Van Gogh", how long does Bataille say it took Van Gogh to paint suns after his self-mutilation?

2. What does Bataille remember his father spanking him with in "[Dream]"?

3. How would you describe the images Bataille presents?

4. What does Bataille say was the driving force beneath his heterodox theory?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What was Bataille's involvement with "Acephale"?

4. How was Bataille's first book received?

5. What claim did Bataille make in "The Lugubrious Game"?

6. What were Bataille's early publications?

7. What does Bataille say about surrealism in "The 'Old Mole' and the Prefix Sur in the Words Surhomme [Superman] and Surrealist"?

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

9. What is expressed in the language of flowers in "The Language of Flowers"?

10. How does self-mutilation in "Sacrificial Mutilation and the Severed Ear of Vincent Van Gogh" relate to Bataille's description of body parts in other essays.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Assess Bataille's place in the rank of surrealists--In what ways is he a surrealist, and in what ways does his art exceed or fail to live up to surrealism?

Essay Topic 2

Bataille aligned himself with Catholicism before he broke with it as a young man--but what religion can we interpolate from Bataille's writing? Analyze his writings and describe the religion or lack of religion in Bataille's writing.

Essay Topic 3

In what ways is Bataille a sacrificial victim? Analyze his essays where sacrifices appear, in addition to the essays where he talks about his role as an author, and describe him as either the sacrificing priest or the sacrificial victim himself.

(see the answer keys)

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