The Balcony by Jean Genet

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Book jacket/back: The setting of Jean Genet's celebrated play is a brothel that caters to refined sensibilities and peculiar tastes. Here men from all walks of life don the garb of their fantasies and act them out: a man from the gas company wears the robe and mitre of a bishop; another customer becomes a flagellant judge, and still another a victorious general, while a bank clerk defiles the Virgin mary. These costumed diversions take place while outside a revolution rages which has isolated the brothel from the rest of the rebel-controlled city. In a stunning series of macabre, climactic scenes, Genet presents his caustic view of man and society.

About Jean Genet

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Jean Genet's life was full of sorrow and rebellion. Born illegitimately in 1910, he was abandoned by his mother, raised by Public Assistance, and sent to live with foster parents at the age of seven. He turned to thievery and prostitution at an early age and was sent to a reform school and, later, to prison. Many of these early experiences form the basis of his well-known works, including Miracle of the Rose and The Thief's Journal. Genet began writing in 1942, while in prison. His first work, Our Lady of the Flowers, was written slowly, since his manuscripts were repeatedly seized by prison officials. Like many of Genet's works, it contains highly homoerotic scenes and is based on his experiences and dreams as a prisoner and prostitute. In 1948, Genet was convicted for the 10th time for stealing, which carried an automatic penalty of life imprisonment. Several famous artists, including Sartre and Cocteau, rushed to his aid and were able to secure a pardon. Soon after, he began writing for the theatre. Plays such as The Blacks and The Balcony are considered classics of avant-garde drama, designed to shock the audience. These plays are from the movement known as The Theatre of the Absurd, which are based on the Existential philosophies of Albert Camus. Jean Genet died in Paris on April 15, 1986.
Published January 21, 1994 by Grove Press. 96 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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