Literature and erotism seem to be two very different cases. Can a novel be literary and erotic at the very same time? And is there a literary quality that can be subscribed to erotism? In his essay “Het ontklede woord”, Bart Smout tries to answer these questions through the prism of the philosophy of Georges Bataille. In an evocative reading of Batailles novel Histoire de l’oeil, he demonstrates that the literary and the erotic are not neccesarily opposites, but can very well complement each other.