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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The play seeks to "understand and portray Jean Genet's imagination as well as his controversial insights on revolution, betrayal and deceit, homosexuality, violence and love."
(2.) The letter is partly transcribed (and translated) in ibid., pp41-45 and in Jacques Derrida, 'Tresors d'archives: Jacques Derrida a Jean Genet' [1971], in Magazine Litteraire, no.
Sartre made Genet into a Saint, but Jean Genet stayed well outside the established, canonized version of the existentialist church, whose accepted givens and established tenets rest on the one hand on a radicalized version of the rationalism of the Enlightenment (i.e.
With costumes that suggest immigrants or servants, Monger plays out scenes based on the work of Polish writer Bruno Schulz, Jean Genet's The Maids, and Robert Altman's film Gosford Park.
What Mapplethorpe did for photography in the latter half of the 20th century is akin to the way in which the Marquis de Sade changed prose in 18th-century France, and how Arthur Rimbaud changed poetry in 19th-century France, to be followed by the writings of Jean Genet, who, like Mapplethorpe, was truly before his time.
Sherwood, Ayn Rand, Daymon Runyon, Lillian Hellman, Ernest Hemingway, Daphne du Maurier, Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Jean Genet, Herman Wouk, and Aldous Huxley.
Richard Dindo's "Genet a Chatila" centers on French writer Jean Genet's interactions with the Palestinian resistance in Jordan and Lebanon in the 1970s.
According to the International Herald Tribune, the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community will also be presented to Barney Rosset, who through his publishing house, Grove Press and his magazine, The Evergreen Review, has influenced readership of authors such as Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Jean Genet.
French dramatist Jean Genet's headstone still manages to stand out, with its irregular shape reminiscent of an iceberg.
The latest entry in Reaktion's "Critical Lives" series, which also features books on Jean Genet and Pablo Picasso, Michel Foucault provides a biographical sketch and overview of the philosopher's key works.