about jean genet

He is buried in the Spanish Cemetery in Larache, Morocco.

david Bowie has confirmed that the song Jean Genie was written about him.

he wasn’t the first prostitute in his family

After the death of his foster mother, Genet was placed with an elderly couple but remained with them less than two years. According to the wife, “he was going out nights and also seemed to be wearing makeup

By 1949 Genet had completed five novels, three plays and numerous poems, many controversial for their explicit and often deliberately provocative portrayal of homosexuality and criminality.

The Screens is Genet’s version of an Algerianintifada, given flesh and blood in the beauty and exuberance of the Palestinian intifada. Life imitates art, but so also does art imitate life and, insofar as it can be imitated, death.

Jean Genet was a French novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and political activist. Early in his life he was a vagabond and petty criminal, but later took to writing. His major works include the novels Querelle of Brest, The Thief’s Journal, and Our Lady of the Flowers, and the plays The Balcony, The Blacks, The Maids and The Screens, often controversial for their explicit and often deliberately provocative portrayal of homosexuality and criminality

banana sailors photo by jean genet

2 thoughts on “about jean genet

  1. The Thief’s Journal (1949) is full of this contradiction. A picaresque account of his early life of “betrayal, theft, and homosexuality,” the Journal lauds the beauty of a betrayal “that cannot be justified by any heroic excuse. The sneaky, cringing kind, elicited by the least noble of sentiments: envy, hatred…greed.” Betrayal for Genet is better if it is meaner, not that of Lucifer, but the kind we associate with a police informer or a collaborator. “It is enough,” Genet continues, “if the betrayer be aware of his betrayal, that he will it, that he be able to break the bonds of love uniting him with mankind. Indispensable for achieving beauty, love. And cruelty shattering that love.” For Genet, to betray is to assert that “exceptional” identity foisted unjustly on him by a society that has found him to be a guilty criminal, but it is also to assert his power to elude any attempts to rehabilitate or reclaim him. Better the destabilizing effects of a permanent will to betray, always keeping him one step out of everyone’s reach, than a permanent identity as a crook who can be punished or forgiven by others.

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