The Last Genet
Trade Paperback · 296 Pages
Arsenal Pulp Press
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"A beautiful book, painting the dark side of Jean Genet: those moments that are the most fascinating about a writer."—Bernard-Henri Levy, Le Point
During the last eighteen years of his life (1968–86), Jean Genet was preoccupied with the struggles of the disenfranchised and displaced: among them the Black Panthers, the Baader-Meinhof, and the Palestinians. Hadrien Laroche's book is a careful philosophical and historical reading of acts and thoughts of various political movements in the seventies and the eighties all over the world, and of Genet's experiences and writings. It describes the adventures of a writer engaged with the "real world" as opposed to the world of letters or, as he called it, "the grammatical world."
This translation of Le Dernier Genet (Seuil) considers Genet's insights, failures, and critique of humanism, and examines the way in which his energetic prose forged a new political, aesthetic, and philosophical relation between literature and the world. This is also the first book to address the issues of Genet's relation to Israel, Jews, and anti-Semitism.
The Last Genet focuses on a critical moment in history, but also on questions of borders, language, and identity, offering an alternative to Jean-Paul Sartre's concept of engagement. As such, it will be critically relevant to readers interested in the questions surrounding ethical and political writing today.
Hadrien Laroche was born in Paris; he has written three French-language novels and completed his doctorate under Jacques Derrida, who considered him "one of the most talented and original thinkers of his generation."
About the Authors
David Homel: David Homel was born and raised in Chicago in 1952. He has been a journalist, editor, literary translator, and teacher, and has won numerous awards for translation, including the Governor General’s Award for Literature, Canada’s highest literary honor.
"This is a magnificent book that gives us the metamorphoses of the last Genet, the poet of the jouissance of evil saved from abjection by his sacred relation with the language of the sublime."
"Genet's last journey, as revealed by Laroche, is imbued with beauty, metamorphosis and emancipation on one hand, and monstrosity, nihilism and hopelessness on the other. An indispensible study for readers interested in Genet, the Black Panthers, the Palestinian/Israeli conflict or, more generally, the philosophy of humanism."
"Highly recommended for readers interested in Genet and his works."
"Laroche's exhaustive research provides a historical framework for examining Jean Genet's later non-fiction work, particularly Prisoner of Love, and the ways in which his political ideals and experiences shaped his worldview."
"Hadrien Laroche’s eloquent, evocative meditation on mid-20th-century French writer Jean Genet focuses on the last and surprising phase of the life of an author remembered as a scandal-causing gay novelist, experimental playwright and defender of the oppressed … Ably translated by David Homel, Laroche’s book serves as a timely homage that marks the centenary of Genet’s birth on December 19, 1910 … Laroche writes in the tradition of the French essay, at once lyrical and densely analytic. It’s a line of thought that runs from Montaigne through Camus and all the way up to Derrida. Laroche meditates on the images of the era (including that emblematic triumvirate of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll), the oscillations of politics and violence, and on the last years of the paradoxical Genet, rebel and humanist."
—Stan Persky, The Globe and Mail
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