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. How should materialism be disclaimed, in "Materialism"?

2. When did George Bataille die?

3. 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?

4. What was Bataille being punished for in "[Dream]"?

5. Where did Bataille work until 1942?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What distinguished the big toe in "The Big Toe"?

3. Describe the importance of the 'cephalus' in Bataille's thinking.

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

5. Describe Bataille's schooling.

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

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

8. 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.

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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

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

Which does Bataille consider more horrifying, freaks, or violence to eyeballs? Describe what Bataille sees as horrific about these concepts and experiences.

(see the answer keys)

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