Aesthetic politics
Staging the wound
in The politics of Jean Genet’s late theatre
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This chapter unpacks Jean Genet's theory and practice of political theatre. It concentrates on his writings and explains how his metaphor of the wound discloses an oblique notion of aesthetic politics that evades accepted models of art politique. Genet's desire to make the world unrecognisable explains why he studiously banishes everything real and naturalistic from the stage. The chapter suggests that Genet's blend of negative aesthetics and anti-aesthetics creates a doubly political theatre which disorients spectators. Responding to a question posed by Michèle Manceaux about the possible direction his writing might take in the light of his political commitment to the Black Panther Party, Genet was quick to distance his theatre from that of Brecht. Although Genet's notion of political theatre has little in common with existing models of commitment, his insistence on autonomy and negativity is close to that of Theodor Adorno.

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