Sacred contagion: Illness and the origins of community in blai bonet's el mar

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This article proposes that Blai Bonet's representation of illness and violence in his debut novel El mar identifies the sacred as a primary existential component of being-with-others. Bonet's attention to the sacred relates literary representation with theological and philosophical inquiry, particularly that of the French College of Sociology and the mid-century work of one of its founding members, Georges Bataille, who similarly theorized the importance of the sacred in the construction of community. For Bonet, poetics merges abstract existentialist contemplations of the sacred with the practice of everyday life, and especially with the historical moment of El mar's writing, which he referred to as a moment of "esfondrament total". The article studies three clear affinities between Bonet and Bataille's interpretations of two related dyads: the sacred and the profane, on the one hand, and taboo and transgression, on the other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-78
Number of pages19
Issue number22
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Universitat de Barcelona, Facultad de Filologia. All rights reserved.


  • Blai Bonet
  • Community
  • Georges Bataille
  • Sacred
  • Taboo
  • Tuberculosis


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