Distributed for Reaktion Books
Abandoned, arrested, and repeatedly incarcerated, Genet, who died in 1986, led a life that could best be described as a tour of the underworld of the twentieth century.
Similarly, Genet's work is recognized by its nearly obsessive and often savage treatment of certain recurring themes. Sex, desire, death, oppression, domination-these ideas, central to Genet's artistic project, can be seen as preoccupations that arose directly from the artist's travels, imprisonments, sexual and emotional relationships, and political engagements and protests. This trenchant volume focuses directly on the moments in Genet's life in which those preoccupations are vividly projected in his novels, theater works, and film projects.
Genet's works have been hugely influential for a vast array of writers, filmmakers, choreographers, and directors, especially at moments of social crisis; thus Genet's life is not only at the root of his own work but also that of many important artists of the twentieth century. With its frank and illuminating introduction by Edmund White, Jean Genet gives readers access to this brilliant and brutal mind.
"This focused yet fragmentary treatment seems to me to be an apposite way for dealing with Genet, a writer whose life, even now, has immense lacunae. . . Barber has an elegant prose style, elliptical and engaging in about equal measure, and this makes for a provocative and informative critical biography."