'Georges Bataille [...] suggests that we embrace the qualities of anality normally considered burdensome and unbecoming—here not for purposes of individual pleasure but in order to foster cultural heterogeneity. In “The Pineal Eye,” he presents us with a series of surrealist expositions on revolution in which the anus becomes a highly politicized tool for social advancement. The basic idea is that the present stage of cultural evolution is over-systematized and homogeneous. What it needs is to look back upon the chaos and ugliness of some of its progressive stages in order to reinvigorate itself, and to adopt a more heterogeneous logic. For Bataille, this means the elevation of discordant and excremental forces, cultural cast-offs which disturb the smooth functioning of established social formulae. His first essay, “The Solar Anus,” consists of a series of obscure pronouncements about the cyclical movement of the planets, and how these movements indicate the continual regeneration of life. The “anus” here apparently represents the abjection and turmoil which catalyze this process:
An abandoned shoe, a rotten tooth, a snub nose, the cook spitting in the soup of his masters are to love what a battle flag is to nationality.
An umbrella, a sexagenarian, a seminarian, the smell of rotten eggs, the hollow eyes of judges are the roots that nourish love.
A dog devouring the stomach of a goose, a drunken vomiting woman, a sobbing accountant, a jar of mustard represent the confusion that serves as the vehicle of love.
Such an indirect, repetitive, and textural manner of speaking can be considered anal because it is more concerned with recreating a mood and a rhythm (experience-based) than with conveying a clear point (aim-based). (The surrealist technique of using words as concrete things, playing with their sounds and taking them out of their expected contexts, is part of a narrative aesthetic that will become the subject of ensuing chapters.) Ideologically, the passage suggests that the uniting force of love is constructed upon the repellent and marginalizing qualities of offal, and that hope is generated from endings and decay rather than from new life. In “The Pineal Eye,” Bataille reveals more about this theory when he generates a bizarre mythology of man’s development based on the evolution of the rear ends of apes. Man could not descend directly from a noble species; instead, he had to pass from a noble but more distant relative (the attractive lemur) through a repugnant one (the vulgar ape) in order to achieve his present elevated status. At the heart of man’s progress Bataille discovers ugliness, represented by the ape’s inflamed posterior (“the enormous anal fruit of radial and shit-smeared raw pink meat” (78)), and upheaval, represented by volcanoes (which erupt “precisely with the shady and comical character associated with the rear end and its excretions” (74)). Bataille’s theory attributes value to the excremental without improving upon its reputation: in his cosmogony, the anus is not prettied up, but its inherently objectionable character is adopted as a source of otherness necessary to cultural development.'

Erika Katz Clowes, The Anal Aesthetic: Regressive Narrative Strategies in Modernism, Unpublished Phd Thesis: University of California

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