Synaesthesia and Transgression in "Story of the Eye"
While Georges Bataille’s “Story of the Eye” challenges many boundaries (pornography and art among them), his central concern was of the boundary between the possible and the impossible, or, what could be expressed in language. Though his novel has had a long critical history related to its unique narrative and thematic concerns, few have identified Bataille’s linguistic constructions as an integral piece of his project to transcend the boundaries of possibility in his novel. Experimenting with unexpected sense-language descriptors in “Story,” Bataille confronts readers with sensory experiences that exist outside the text—provoking a disruption in the normally separate spaces between reader, author, and text. Synaesthesia enables Bataille to trouble the divisions between the senses more strongly than any other literary device can, providing a greater opportunity to represent what would be otherwise impossible. A close reading of “Story,” considered along with Bataille’s theoretical work on the impossible, informs this paper’s analysis of the “avant-garde” or transgressive/transcendent possibilities of synaesthetic language in Bataille’s “Story.”