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. Where did Bataille go to school?

2. How does Bataille describe his father?

3. What are flowers not matched by, in "The Language of Flowers"?

4. In what piece of writing did Bataille record his childhood?

5. What do flowers witness, in "The Language of Flowers"?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Bataille's birth and family origins.

2. What was Bataille's relationship with Andrea Breton?

3. How does a man find himself in "The Labyrinth"?

4. What pattern for self-discovery does Bataille offer in "The Sacred"?

5. What do Masson's drawing symbolize for Bataille?

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

7. What is the essence of Bataille's essay "The Practice of Joy before Death"?

8. Describe the paradox at the heart of "Materialism".

9. What is fascism's relationship with homo- and heterogeneity?

10. How did Nietzsche respond to the decay of his culture, according to Bataille's essay "Nietzschean Chronicle"?

Essay 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

Analyze Bataille's relationship with other authors or thinkers, and describe how Bataille navigates between keeping the writer's thoughts and rejecting them. He doesn't just throw them out, does he? How would you characterize his relationship with the work that precedes him? Use examples from the text to explain.

Essay Topic 3

Bataille uses the thoughts of Thorstein Veblen in "The Notion of Expenditure", but he is not merely following Veblen. What use does Bataille put Veblen's thoughts to, and how does Veblen's idea of conspicuous consumption fit into Bataille's overall value scheme?

(see the answer keys)

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