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. When did Bataille publish his first pamphlet?

2. What paradoxical action does Bataille describe in "Materialism"?

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

4. 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?

5. What was Bataille afraid of as a child?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. 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.

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

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

7. What experience does Bataille elevate in "Rotten Sun"?

8. Describe Bataille's experience with psychoanalysis.

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

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

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

How did the Popular Front fulfill Bataille's ideal of heterogeneity? Analyze his description of the organization in relation with his other essays about revolution and order.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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