Jean Genet and the Middle East: Sexuality, Politics and Literature

i would like to make two additions to the topic of jean genet – the first in this post.

jean genet is certainly famous for his novels and his plays – but he also wrote reports – very often in defence of the ones fighting in any way for… hm, liberty. most famous are his associations to the black panthers, the palestinians, and the r.a.f. – the german rote armee fraktion. especially the defence of the last ones kind of broke his neck socially.

yes, M is certainly right by remarking that his morals are dangerous. in my opinion it has of course something to do with taking up the fight for the suppressed – but somehow i think it also has a lot to do with loyality. a certain loyality to himself and to his desires….

so jean genet is certainly a good starting point to muse about politics and desire.

so here a link to an excerpt of a longer work by Jordan Sudermann: Jean Genet and the Middle East: Sexuality, Politics and Literature.

concerning this text i would like to point out two things:

first it is interesting that Sudermann compares the attraction for arab men of jean genet to the one of andré gide, trying to establish one as “deeper”. as problematic as i find such a question in a scientific paper, i nevertheless find it very interesting to think what a “deeper” attraction might be – the adding of love, as proposed in the text? and when can one talk, especially on a (post-)colonial / sextourism background of an ethical way to act on ones (sexual) desires? and what does it mean to use these experiences for ones art?

second i find the following sentence especially worth discussion:

“The motives of his political involvement with the Algerians and the Palestinians are not always clear, as a simple kinship with another group of marginalized or oppressed peoples is muddied by Genet’s sexual attractions. ”

basically it is for me the question how much our politics are / should be informed by our experiences, our personal relationships and our sexual attractions. does it might boil down to ideology vs. an individual humanism?

3 Responses to “Jean Genet and the Middle East: Sexuality, Politics and Literature”

  1. n.e.w Says:

    thanks for a great read and the movie i have heard so many talk of.
    Keep up the stimulating work.
    lookimg forward to the new stuff

  2. Don Perfecto Gomez Says:

    i love the fasssbinder’s vision of this book, i saw the movie many times, but i want to know where can i find the books and the complete poems of monseaur Genet, i got Un chant D amour too, i love all about jean genet

  3. sunbathinglizard Says:

    hi don perfecto gomez!
    hm – since i guess you would like it in spanish i can not really help you. for english – most of his stuff is translated (i’m not sure if everything is) and should be easily available.
    i can give you one hint: on ubuweb.com you’ll also find a radiopiece base on a poem by jean genet. very interesting!
    cheers, sunbathinglizard

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