Upstaged in Palestine

Nigel Williams

  • Prisoner of Love by Jean Genet, translated by Barbara Bray
    Picador, 375 pp, £12.95, February 1989, ISBN 0 330 29962 X

Jean Genet’s flirtation with radical politics began with his discovery – or was it entombment? – by Sartre. It is recorded that when Genet first read Saint Genet, he was cast into deep despair, an emotion shared by many others who have tried to read Sartre’s massive study. But being a practical man he was not one to reject attention. What is extraordinary about Genet’s career is not the extent to which the sage of the Deux Magots left his mark on the subsequent work of this most individual of French writers, but the extent to which Genet managed to struggle free of his mentor.

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