One of the most profound thinkers of the twentieth century, Georges Bataille has only recently come to prominence in the Anglophone academy, partly through the influence of post-structuralism. Once seen as no more than a philosopher of eroticism and a writer of avant-garde pornography, Bataille is emerging as an absolutely central figure to discussions of culture, economy, subjectivity and difference.Bataille is the first volume of its kind to offer lucid, diverse and relevant examples of the ways of reading literary and cultural texts in the light of Bataille's work. The essays explore the significance of Bataillean notions like heterology, general economy, transgression and eroticism, through detailed readings of Shakespearean, Elizabethan and Jacobean literature; in analyses of Gothic and postmodern fiction; and in critiques of popular culture, rock music and Hollywood movies. In order to make Bataillean notions more comprehensible to contemporary readers, his concepts are situated in relation to the ideas of renowned critical and cultural theorists like Baudrillard, Deleuze, Derrida, Kristeva, Lacan, as well as Hegel, Freud, Nietzsche and Marx. Here the influence of Bataille is outlined in intellectual and historical terms and the significance of his work can be seen for both contemporary and futural modes of cultural analysis.