Jean Genet's life has been a constant immersion in solitude. He described the Mettray reformatory as a time "… que j'etais las de ma solitude d'enfant perdu et que mon âme appelait une mère." In Querelle de Brest, Genet, speaking through the diary of Lieutenant Seblon, explained his homoerotic love life in terms of solitude: "Ce regard sévère parfois presque soupçon neux, de justicier même, que Ie pédéraste attarde sur Ie jeune homme qu'il rencontre, c'est une brève mais intense meditation sur sa pro pre solitude." His sojourns in the 1930s were most often characterized by unsustained friendships, as well as betrayal among fellow thieves, prostitutes, and beggars. Genet has even justified his prison life as a voluntary seclusion from society or a means of establishing one's own identity free from external mandates. Finally, Genet's political writings and his work with revolutionary groups during the last fifteen years of his life can be examined in terms of the quest for solitude. Genet supported such outcasts as the Black Panthers, the Baader-Meinhof gang, the Palestinians, and French immigrants yet did not campaign against the Vietnam War, a political issue that had little to do with the dialectic between mainstream society and marginal individuals. In short, Genet is more interested in his support for the struggling outcast trying to define an identity free from outside control.



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