Mairéad Hanrahan, Genet’s Genres of Politics – Legenda, April 2023

Mairéad Hanrahan, Genet’s Genres of Politics – Legenda, April 2023

Hardback only at the moment, but paperback forthcoming.

In this book, Mairéad Hanrahan examines the shifts in political focus in Genet’s writing, from the intimate fantasies of the early novels to the struggle for emancipation of the Palestinians in the posthumously published Un Captif amoureux. She argues that his texts have always been centrally concerned with power relations, challenging from the very beginning the opposition that traditionally confines the political to the public sphere. Genet’s writing has always been political — but Hanrahan argues also that it was never solely political. On the contrary, a tension always existed for him between the poetic and the political.

Genet’s changing focus from the personal to the public is explored via the shifts in his practice of genre. Analysing how genre and politics are inextricably involved in Genet’s writing, Hanrahan highlights a core paradox in its evolution. This writer who remained constant over the course of his life in his opposition to hegemonic power relations grappled throughout his work with the suspicion that his art may serve to shore up the very structures he unreservedly contests. Yet his writing also testifies, in both what it says and what it does, to the idea that literature is fundamentally at odds with the social order of the world.

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