Studying A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man through Heterogeneous Philosophy of Georges Bataille

Shataw Naseri, Kian Soheil


Georges Bataille believes that most of his contemporary discourses were spiritual and/or intellectual ones. They were, for him, vegetation-like discourses looking upward and underlining the role of head and thinking in their paradigms. He, instead, introduced the notion of "base materialism" which highlights the role of the lower parts of the body; it is here that Bataille raises the notion of "Acéphale" who has beheaded himself with a dagger in his right hand, and thus has beheaded the ruling head of his own body as well as the heads of his surrounding social discourses. For George Bataille, humans are linguistic being entrapped forever in a language system. However, he believes that this system is full of fissures and that through transgressive moments one can experience these voids within language. Through transgression one can look directly in the abyss of language, though he/she cannot see the extremity of these voids and thus Bataille believes that one cannot reach any signified, and therefore, any Bataillean "Impossible." As one can witness, linguistic human being is entrapped within narratives of language system defining him in terms of cause and effect and their related items namely linear time and space. Georges Bataille believes that any heterogeneous element which crosses the defined taboos of the body of self and society at some transgressive moments is regarded as a "foreign body" and an "alterity." This foreign body, as he regards, at the instants of transgression experiences "sovereignty" which means that he is at the epic of being a "sovereign being," of course momentarily, because he at those moments has stepped upon any ruling borders and is bound with no taboo and thus is the "sovereign" of instants. The present study endeavors to analyze Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and his Bataillean experiences in terms of narrative and language. A Portrait will be concentrated in the light of the heterogeneous notions of Georges Bataille in order to investigate if one can consider Stephen Dedalus as a horizontal Bataillean character. This study attempts to trace Bataille’s notion of language as an unsolvable maze in A Portrait; the maze which has entrapped human beings forever. It is here that his view of the linear narrative and its linear time and space, is raised and is analyzed through a Bataillian viewpoint.



Impossible, narrative, Achephale, Obelisk, Stephan Dedalus

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