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Genet by Edmund White
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Genet (original 1993; edition 1993)

by Edmund White

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338332,536 (4.21)18
Member:lacenaire
Title:Genet
Authors:Edmund White
Info:Alfred A. Knopf (1993); First American Edition; Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Biography, French Literature, 20th-Century Literature, National Book Critics Circle Award

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Genet by Edmund White (1993)

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White's biography of Jean Genet is an extensive treatment of his life replete with illuminations, navigating around the shroud of biographical mystery and contradiction that Genet propagated through his novels. This gives readers a complete picture of the man through extensive research and the varied perspectives of those who knew him. White also gives a fair amount of critical attention to Genet's work at just the right points in the overall biographical narrative.

For such a weighty and long biography, it is an infectiously readable book. It is in part because the story of Jean Genet's life is so unusual. His story is that of an orphan and a thief who spent the bulk of his youth in reformatories and prisons only to become one of the most important novelists and playwrights of his generation before abandoning these modes of literature to take up revolutionary causes around the world. The readability of this work is due not only to the intriguing nature of its subject, but to White's background and similarity to his subject as both a novelist and as a gay men. White achieves a poetic sense of emotion here that holds echoes of Genet's own work. ( )
  poetontheone | Apr 11, 2013 |


Took me a while to read but truly amazing. Full coverage of Genet's life and White is an excellent researcher. Awesome.
Edmund White explores the perverse extremes of Genet's life and separates the facts from the mythology that Genet himself fashioned. Drawing on interviews with Genet's friends, lovers, publishers, and acquaintances, and using new material from correspondence, journals, police records, psychiatric reports, and other original sources, White reveals a life animated by contradictory impulses: authenticity and dissembling, fidelity and flirtation, domination and submission, honor and betrayal. Throughout, he brilliantly interprets and appraises Genet's astonishing oeuvre, reading the fiction with the focussed attention of a novelist and opening up the dense invention of the plays. His masterful and intuitive biography fully illuminates a hitherto enigmatic literary genius.
( )
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679754792, Paperback)

The definitive biography of Jean Genet, the incomparable French novelist whose works echo with themes of violent hierarchies, rituals of power and powerlessness and human identities as roles to be traded and manipulated. From his birth in 1911 to his adoption by foster parents and his tumultuous life as a runaway, thief, beggar and prostitute, Genet had remarkable powers of self-transformation, ultimately turning the pain of his life into writings that attracted the attention of literary trend-setter Jean Cocteau. Genet's work covered an amazing amount of social, political and intellectual territory. By diving into that which was awkward, ugly and painful, he emerged with the truth, transforming himself and others with its beauty. White earned the 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography for this fine work.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:17 -0400)

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