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Agamben's Philosophical Lineage$
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Adam Kotsko and Carlo Salzani

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474423632

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474423632.001.0001

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Georges Bataille

Georges Bataille

(p.109) 9 Georges Bataille
Agamben's Philosophical Lineage

Nadine Hartmann

Edinburgh University Press

Throughout his oeuvre, Giorgio Agamben makes numerous references to Georges Bataille. Already in the 1977 Stanzas, Bataille’s general economy is afforded one of the scholia of the chapter ‘The Appropriation of Unreality’ and scolded for its alleged simplification of Marcel Mauss’s account of the gift. A brief discussion of the letters that Bataille and Alexandre Kojève exchanged in 1937 is contained in Agamben’s 1982 Language and Death and picked up again in 2002’s The Open: Man and Animal. The only text that exclusively deals with Bataille, however, is Agamben’s 1987 essay ‘Bataille e il paradosso della sovranità’. By the time Agamben begins the Homo Sacer project (1995), and in particular in Means Without End (1996), Bataille has been banished into unambiguously dismissive footnotes or ‘thresholds’ in which Agamben distances himself from Bataille’s definitions of the sacred, sacrifice and sovereignty. Thus, unlike Carl Schmitt, Martin Heidegger, Walter Benjamin or Michel Foucault, Bataille not only cannot be considered one of Agamben’s main informants, but receives all but marginal attention from him – and this despite the fact that Bataille is generally held to be one of the crucial thinkers of the sacred and of sovereignty.

Keywords:   Georges Bataille, Sovereignity, sacred

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