Georges Bataille, Blue of Noon

Blue of Noon

A short novel of 128 pages that needs a little patience to get into, Blue of Noon is one of those books that leaves you with many strong images. Set in 1935 (but not published until 1957), this is a tale of depravity and terror that careens from one city to the next as the narrator pursues a self-destructive craving for ‘Dirty’, a young woman whose nihilism appears the only logical reaction to the political (and historical) events unfolding against the wider, darker background. As the narrator’s torment increases – he is almost never anything but drunk, sick or dreaming – so the madness of Europe’s lurch toward inevitable war appears in it’s true context: when the narrator is truly himself and able to think clearly, he is lost and alone, distanced from the reality or true import of events. However, as the author himself was to ask much later: ‘Confronted with tragedy itself, why pay any attention to its portents?’

“I got out of the car and thus beheld the starry sky overhead. Twenty years later, the boy who used to stick himself with pens was standing under the sky in a foreign street where he had never been, waiting for some unknown, impossible event. There were stars: an infinity of stars. It was absurd – absurd enough to make you scream; but it was a hostile absurdity. I was eager for daybreak and sunrise. I reckoned that when the stars disappeared I would surely be out in the streets. In general I was less afraid of the starry sky than of the dawn. I would have to wait, wait for two hours… I remembered: it was about two in the afternoon, beneath a brilliant Paris sun, and I was standing on the Pont du Carrousel, when I saw a butcher’s van drive past. The headless necks of flayed lambs protruded from canvas coverings; the butchers’ blue-and-white striped smocks were spotlessly clean; the van was slowly moving forward in open sunlight. When I was a boy, I loved the sun; I used to shut my eyes and let it shine redly through my lids. The sun was fantastic – it evoked dreams of explosion. Was there anything more sunlike than red blood running over cobblestones, as though light could shatter and kill? Now, in this thick darkness, I’d made myself drunk with light; and so, once again, Lazare in my eyes was merely a bird of ill omen; a dirty, trivial bird. My eyes were no longer lost among the stars that were shining above me actually, but in the blue of the noon sky…”

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2 thoughts on “Georges Bataille, Blue of Noon

  1. Hey,
    I need to know who is the author of the cover, or what is the name of the image used there. Is for publication purposes.

    Thank you,
    Bosco

    • Sorry Bosco but I no longer have the book. I believe it was a stock image with the rights held by Corbis. The best people to contact are The Rights Department, Penguin Books, 80 Strand, London
      I’ve also looked up the relevant contact information for you on this page of Penguin’s website: http://www.penguin.co.uk
      Permissions are usually sought by film companies, for instance, who want to feature a book in a movie. Your best chance of getting the information you need is to ask the Rights Department.
      Thanks for reading!

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