Carl Lavery
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Genet and commitment
Politics and aesthetics
in The politics of Jean Genet’s late theatre
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This chapter unveils the utopian elements in Jean Genet's post-1968 revolutionary thought, and shows how they were anticipated by the themes and practices of his late theatre. Genet's renunciation of theatre and subsequent commitment to revolutionary politics allowed him to continue his aesthetic project by other means. In an ironic twist that would have surprised Jean-Paul Sartre, Genet was, from 1968 until his death in 1986, the consummate political activist. The two movements that exerted the greatest influence on Genet in the 1970s and 1980s were the Black Panther Party and the Palestinians. Supporting oppressed peoples in the USA and Middle East, Genet was also committed to the plight of immigrant workers in France. Genet's rejection of the imperialist tendencies of the nation-State elucidates the politics of his late theatre. Against imperialism's abstract and incarcerating production of space, Genet posits the transgressive force of the Spieltrieb.

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