Les risques de la symbolisation du mal. Essai de confrontation entre La Symbolique du mal et La Littérature et le mal

Cristina Henrique da Costa


This article compares two major books: Paul Ricœur’s The Symbolism of Evil and George Bataille’s Literature and Evil. The linking between these two thinkers that everything seems to oppose is driven by the hope to find a productive compatibility between them through their common interest in the language of evil. Emphasis will first be placed on Ricœur: by recognizing that the expression of evil necessarily involves a symbolic language, he allows us to think through Bataille’s insistence on the place of literature concerning evil. Then, we will show that Bataille’s statement concerning the existence of a modern literary lucidity regarding evil both allows confirmation of Ricœur’s thesis concerning the historical and linguistic character of the experience of evil and also leads to formulation of its main consequence: that the language of evil, marked with the seal of poetic creativity, probably cannot be considered as accomplished. We highlight finally the interest of such an approach in interpreting, through literature, the new experiences of evil today.


The Symbolism of Evil, Literature and Evil, Evil, Bataille

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/errs.2019.480

Copyright (c) 2020 Cristina Henrique da Costa

License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

This journal is published by the University Library System, University of Pittsburgh as part of its D-Scribe Digital Publishing Program and is cosponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

ISSN 2156-7808 (online)