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. For what field did Bataille go to school?

2. How did Leiris portray Bataille to Breton?

3. How does "The Language of Flowers" end?

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

5. How does surrealism rebel at first, in "The 'Old Mole' and the Prefix Sur in the Words Surhomme [Superman] and Surrealist"?

Short Essay Questions

1. What was Bataille's objection to Nietzsche?

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

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

4. What is the value of intellectual violence in Bataille's work?

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

6. Describe Bataille's schooling.

7. Explain the title of the essay "The Use Value of D. A. F. de Sade".

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

9. What flaw does Bataille identify in dialectic philosophy in "The Critique of the Foundations of the Hegelian Dialectic"?

10. Judging by "The Critique of the Foundations of the Hegelian Dialectic" and his other essays, what does Bataille see as the value of dialectics?

Essay 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

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

Describe the role and importance of creativity in Bataille's thinking about art and politics.

(see the answer keys)

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