Georges Bataille, Michel Leiris, Marcel Griaule, Robert Desnos & &c.


Out of print.

Texts by Georges Bataille, Michel Leiris, Marcel Griaule, Carl Einstein, Robert Desnos and writers associated with the Acéphale and Surrealist groups.

Introduced by Alastair Brotchie. Translated by Iain White, Dominic Faccini, Annette Michelson, John Harman, Alexis Lykiard.

Bataille’s thought is complex, and his books make few concessions to the reader. The first series of texts here, however, were written for a wider audience by Bataille and his friends, in the form of a Critical Dictionary, and they provide a witty, poetic and concise introduction to his ideas. The Dictionary appeared in the magazine edited by Bataille, Documents, in the early 1930s, and includes entries from prominent ethnologists and cultural commentators of the day. The second series of texts here, the Da Costa Encyclopédique was published anonymously after the liberation of Paris in 1947 by members of the Acéphale group and writers associated with the Surrealists. Both cover the essential concepts of Bataille and his associates: sacred sociology; scatology, death and the erotic; base materialism; the aesthetics of the formless; sacrifice, the festival and the politics of the tumult etc: a new description of the limits of being human. Humour, albeit, sardonic, is not absent from these remarkable redefinitions of the most heterogeneous objects or ideas: Camel, Church, Dust, Museum, Spittle, Skyscraper, Threshold, Work – to name but a few.

While the Documents group was celebrated for joining together artists, authors, sociologists and ethnologists (among the most important of their time) in a literary and philosophical project, the Acéphale group was more mysterious. Until recently even its membership was only vaguely known, and its activities remained secret (these are explored in detail for the first time in English in The Sacred Conspiracy, published by Atlas Press). The origins of the Da Costa only became known in 1993, the present volume revealed for the first time its principal compilers: Robert Lebel, Isabelle Waldberg and Marcel Duchamp, but the identity of the authors of a large part of it is still unknown.

Atlas Arkhive 3, we hope to reprint the Critical Dictionary at some point in the future.


1995, ISBN: 0-947745-87-2, 176pp, paperback.
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SKU: 0-947745-87-2 Categories: , ,

Additional information

Weight .58 kg
Dimensions 21 × 23 cm