Jean Genet

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

Genet, Jean

(zhäN zhənā`), 1910–86, French dramatist. Deserted by his parents as an infant, Genet spent much of his early life in reformatories and prisons. Between 1940 and 1948 he wrote several autobiographical prose narratives dealing with homosexuality and crime, including Our Lady of the Flowers (tr. 1949, repr. 1963) and The Thief's Journal (tr. 1964). In 1948 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for theft, but he was pardoned through the efforts of important French writers, including Gide, Sartre, and Cocteau. Genet's first two plays, Les Bonnes (1947; tr. The Maids, 1954) and Haute Surveillance (1949; tr. Deathwatch, 1954), established him as a dramatist concerned with theater as ritual and ceremony. Considered classic examples of the theater of the absurd, his dramas portray a world of outcasts in revolt against everything that renders humans helpless, subservient, and alone. His later plays include The Balcony (tr. 1958), in which the patrons of a brothel act out their fantasies as a revolution progresses in the streets, and The Blacks (tr. 1960), a "clown show" in which black actors play the roles of their white oppressors. Other works include the play The Screens (tr. 1962) and Querelle (tr. 1974).


See his Reflections on the Theatre (tr. 1972); J.-P. Sartre, Saint Genet (1952, tr. 1963); biography by E. White, Genet (1993); and studies by R. N. Coe (1970), B. Knapp (1968, rev. ed. 1989), and H. Stewart (1989).

References in periodicals archive ?
In the play The Blacks by French dramatist Jean Genet we are faced, in both a complex and controversial manner, with the issues of cultural and racial identity, ideological dominion, colonialism and the process of decolonization as seen from the perspective of "the blackness " issue against the backdrop of colonialism.
So I can tell you that in June 1968, my sadness and anger made me understand that from now on I would not rest until the spirit of that May in Paris returned, in France or elsewhere', Jean Genet, 'It seems indecent of me to speak of myself ['Il me parait indecent de parler de moi .
Jean Genet was an orphan, a thief, a hoodlum, a homosexual, a spinner of tales, a prostitute, and a self-mythologizing individual who stole from his friends and betrayed them time and time again.
My dream passenger would either be Descartes or Jean Genet.
Interestingly, the man who led Ben Jelloun to Alberto Giacometti was none other than Jean Genet and his essay The Studio of Alberto Giacometti.
The play - Elle by French playwright Jean Genet - is about a photographer who begins to question whether the Pope really exists after going to the Vatican to take his picture.
At the Young Vic, Katie Mitchell directs Anastasia Hille, Aisling O'Sullivan and Angela Clerkin in a darkly atmospheric production of Martin Crimp's new version of The Maids by Jean Genet.
Laura Oswald, in her Jean Genet and the semiotics of performance, gives: Trans.
cummings, William Burroughs, Merce Cunningham, Jean Genet, Georgia O'Keeffe, Italo Calvino, Mark Rothko, Jorge Luis gorges, Pablo Picasso, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and John Cage.
His vision, however, was a major influence on the plays of Jean Genet, Eugene Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, and others and on the entire movement away from the dominant role of language and rationalism in contemporary theater.
It is hard to imagine that there has ever been a more paradoxical and evasive subject for a biographer to grapple with than Jean Genet.
Jean Cocteau, Jean Genet, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, and countless other writers and artists lived openly gay lives in France back when such a life elsewhere meant at minimum concealment and alienation.