The Critical Dictionary (French: Dictionnaire critique) was a regular section of the journal Documents. It offered short essays by Georges Bataille and his colleagues on such subjects as “Absolute“, “Eye“, “Factory Chimney”, and “Keaton (Buster)“.
In the entry for aesthete one finds the following sentence:
- “When it comes down to it, these words have the power to disturb and to nauseate: after fifteen years, one finds the shoe of a dead woman at the bottom of a cupboard; one throws it in the rubbish bin.” […] The unfortunate who says that art no longer works, because that way one remains disengaged from the ‘dangers of action’, says something deserving of the same attention as the dead woman’s shoe.” (translation by Art in Theory).
Bataille never fails to intrigue me. I must confess – and I always do – that I do not understand one iota of what he means by the image of a dead woman’s shoe in relation to art and aesthetes, but not understanding is a very big part of the attraction. As I stated before, I like my philosophy poetic and incomprehensible.