Eroticism by Georges Bataille

…the man is an absentee libertine, lighting fires and not stopping to see them blaze.

You loved to lose and the more you loved the more you lost. Fear and jealousy were not incidental to love, they were love.

‘Aber es ist schwerer gut unglücklich verliebt sein, als gut glücklich verliebt’ ‘But it is harder to bear yourself well when you are unhappily in love than when you are happily in love.’

Whatever the reality of him, he played an archetypal role in that book-fed theatre of riot and melodrama that was my sexual imagination. He lurked in darkened cinemas, invisible to everyone but the woman he would steal from you, kissing her unnoticed in the blackness even as you sat and held her hand. He was the eternal rake or roué who must make any man not a rake or roué worry about his potency. It doesn’t matter whether or not you yourself wish to persuade a woman to abandon herself against all reason to unbridled lust, the knowledge that you can’t and he can lies curled like a poisonous snake in the long grass of your self-esteem. And that’s before you address the heated question of what will happen if you find yourselves going head to head for the same woman.

You can hurt some men, it seems, by stealing from them what they are not aware they want.

Will there not always be an ‘opportunity’ for disloyalty greater than the one before?

There are some desires which are too elusive and unrefined ever to be put satisfactorily in words: utter them and they lose their trepidation, call them by their name (supposing you know their name) and you forgo that oscillation between the possible and the unthinkable, between what you rub at in your imagination an what you fear ever coming to pass (or worse, not coming to pass) in reality. If that oscillation made us giddy it also made us more in love.

The famous words from Dostoevsky’s great novel of moral inversion The Brothers Karamazov – ‘What the intellect regards as shameful often appears splendidly beautiful to the heart’  – are profoundly true. But one can rearrange their thrust. ‘What to the heart appears splendidly beautiful the intellect must not regard with shame.’ I have always made it a matter of principle to encourage the intellect to go wherever the heart dares. If it is beautiful enough to feel it, it is beautiful enough to think it. And let reason – which is so often no more than awkwardness before the heart’s excesses – go hang.

So add admiration to my devotion. An esteem for her that grew with every infidelity which in her became infidelity’s very opposite: the proof of how much, how well – how intelligently – she loved me.

Time chips away at what we think is or isn’t sick. In a hundred years’ time the husband who wants his wife to wear an ankle chain will be considered the picture of health. And with a bit of luck they’ll be locking up those husbands who think their wives should cook the supper and love only them.

The uneducated are not taught to value grace. They talk about a vagina as it is: a vagina. Therefore those educated in literature or the visual arts have more ways of talking about a woman’s vagina than those who leave school when their fifteen.

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