Jean Genet Biography (1910-1986)

Born December 10, 1910, in Paris, France; died of throat cancer, in a hotel in Paris, April 14, 1986; son of Gabrielle Genet.

CTFT notes from Jean Genet's published obituaries in The New York Times and Variety that he was abandoned by his mother and had never known his father. Hewas raised by peasant foster parents and was sent to a reformatory for thievery. He became a vagabond and was arrested for various crimes, spending timein and out of prisons in Europe. He began writing on brown paper bags while in prison which eventually came to the attention of Jean Cocteau, who helped arrange publication. His writings deal with the darker side of the human spirit, exploring sexual deviance and political power. Many of his plays were censored, and his screenplay Un Chant d'amour, when shown in New York, led to police action and the closing of the theatre where it was shown. Jean Cocteau dubbed him "the black prince of French literature." Genet himself commented onhis work and life, "Abandoned by my family, I found it natural to aggravate this fact by the love of males, and that love by stealing, and stealing by crime, or complicitly with crime. Thus I decisively repudiated a world that hasrepudiated me."

Birth Details
December 10, 1910
Paris, France
Death Details
April 14, 1986
Paris, France

Famous Works

Recent Updates

March 28, 2005: Genet's play The Maids was staged in New York at the Chocolate Factory Theater in a production directed by Michele Chivu. Source: New York Times,, March 28, 2005.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: