Tracing the shift
The event of the wound
in The politics of Jean Genet’s late theatre
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This chapter attempts to account for the critical aesthetico-political shift that occurred in Jean Genet's theatre from The Balcony onwards. The Balcony explores the difficulty of revolutionary action in a capitalist economy manipulated by a spectacular notion of community. Special attention is given to a painful existential event that Genet recounts undergoing in the early 1950s, and which he was later to describe in several important essays on Rembrandt and Giacometti as 'la blessure', or wound. The chapter argues that Genet's late theatre, unlike his novels and early dramas which practise a largely individualistic politics of resistance, look to build what the queer and gender theorist Judith Butler has called different 'coalitional alliances' between oppressed subjects. Genet's early experiments in theatre, cinema and dance share many of the same political and aesthetic concerns as his queer novels.

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