Saturday, August 7, 2010

THE TRIAL OF GILLES DE RAIS: Actual Trial Transcripts Annotated by Georges Bataille


Documents Presented by Georges Bataille

Translated from Latin by Pierre Klossowski

Georges Bataille presents the case of the most infamous villain of the Middle Ages: Gilles de Rais. Fascinated with the depths of human experience — the meeting points of sexuality, violence, ritual, spirituality, and death — Bataille examines with dispassionate clarity the legendary crimes, trials and confessions of this grotesque and still horrifying 15th-century child-murderer, sadist, alchemist, necrophile and practitioner of the Black Arts - He was also at one time a lieutenant to Joan of Arc - but after her execution as a witch, he began a steady decline into the depths of hell.

“This book about the notorious 15th-century serial killer of young children, written by France’s famous connoisseur of transgression — the man the surrealist Andre Breton labeled an ‘excremental philosopher’ — represents a marriage not made in heaven, perhaps, but surely nowhere on this earth - the fact is that The Trial of Gilles de Rais gives us Bataille at his most accessible — he had been trained as a medievalist librarian, after all — and is probably, taken in its entirety, the best thing now available in English on one of the most bizarre figures in European history.” — New York Times Book Review

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