This week we’ve got another listener pick, which is both a modernist classic and kinda gross. There’s lots of depravity in Bataille’s novel, including characters befouling a hotel room and a narrator who maybe had sex (or at least contemplated sex?) with his dead mother. We try to figure out if the book is shocking for the sake of being shocking, or if there’s a greater aesthetic pursuit in Bataille’s work. We also talk about the Spanish Civil War, the pitfalls of academic analysis, and surrealist absurdity.
In our second segment, we consider the role of a creative writing instructor when it comes to students writing unsettling work. Mike talks about an interview question he was forced to answer after the Virginia Tech shooting, and Tom shares a couple anecdotes about issues that have cropped up in his classes.
You can read Bataille’s piece The Solar Anus here, through The Anarchist Library. You can order Lee Klein’s Thanks and Sorry and Good Luck here, on the Barrelhouse site. You can support Powell’s (and give back to the show) by clicking on the cover image above, or any of the Powell’s links on our site.
As always, stream the episode here on our site, or visit us in iTunes, where you can subscribe (for free) and never miss another episode. Also, we’re happy to get feedback on what we talked about: drop us a line, or leave a comment here on the site.
Download Episode 55 (right-click, save-as)