The Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought, Goldsmiths University of London

Research Centre run jointly between the Departments of Sociology and English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths University, London

Bataille’s Nietzsche: abstracts

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A Workshop with Keith Ansell-Pearson and Stuart Kendall

Thursday, 10 Nov
4-7pm @Richard Hoggart Building 256, Goldsmiths

Friday, 11 Nov
10am-6pm @Deptford Town Hall 109, Goldsmiths

Click here for full schedule and further information.


Stuart Kendall (CCA), ‘Bataille beyond Nietzsche: The “On” of On Nietzsche’

The preposition “on” in On Nietzsche translates the word sur, meaning on but also over or above. It’s a word that serves as a prefix, in French, to both surrealism and surhomme – Nietzsche’s overman or superman. In those cases, the word carries connotations of a step beyond. In this paper, I propose a reading of On Nietzsche as Beyond Nietzsche. Precisely how does Bataille see himself as beyond Nietzsche? And is he correct to do so?

Keith Ansell-Pearson (Warwick), ‘Nietzsche as an Anti-Political Thinker?’


William Stronge (Chichester/Brighton), ‘The Creaturely Condition’

This paper has two parts. First, it co-reads Bataille’s atheistic phenomenology of whole being (Preface + Parts 1 and 2) with aspects of Schelling’s Freedom essay that articulates the self-partitioning of God, arguing that one might read Bataille as a German Idealist, alongside Schelling as a phenomenological mystic. Second, it shows the contribution that Bataille’s writing on division, uselessness and subordination makes to contemporary anti-work political theory—and as a contrary position to the work ethic, and to the subordination under means, etc. This will also situate the text in relation to his later Accursed Share writing on a similar topic.

Willow Verkerk (CRMEP/Kingston), ‘On Communication: Bataille’s Friendship with Nietzsche’

Bataille writes that his ‘life in Nietzsche’s company is a community’. He also writes that communication, which one assumes is integral to the sharing of a community, involves the participation in crime, in suicide, and in living outside of oneself. This paper will explore the kind of community that Bataille shares with Nietzsche through an analysis of the notions of communication and friendship in The Gay Science and On Nietzsche.

Jim Urpeth (Greenwich), “Immanence and the Sacred in Bataille’s ‘On Nietzsche'”

In this paper I shall discuss some of the distinctive features of Bataille’s On Nietzsche and suggest some possible lines of critical exchange between Nietzsche’s and Bataille’s respective ‘projects’ as these arise in the text. The terms used in my title – ‘immanence’ and the ‘sacred’ – indicate what I take to be the idiosyncratic basis of Bataille’s response to Nietzsche in On Nietzsche and the importance of such an interpretative stance towards Nietzsche’s thought will be underlined.

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