A librarian, pornographer and fervent Catholic who came to regard the brothels of Paris as his true ‘churches’, George Bataille ranks among the boldest and most disturbing of twentieth-century thinkers. Although published at the start of the ‘sexual revolution’, Eroticism (1857) totally rejects the gospel of ‘liberation’. Everywhere, it argues, sex is surrounded by taboos, and everywhere we transgress against them in our desperation to overcome an agonizing sense of separation from other people. In developing this central theme, Bataille offers a dazzling array of insights into incest, prostitution, marriage, murder, sadism, sacrifice and the violence at the heart of religious ritual. The result is one of the strangest and most compelling books ever written about sex.