Funeral Rites

Jean Genet
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ISBN 9780571251544 Format Paperback
Published 21/05/2009 Length 256 pages

About Book

Jean Genet began to write his third novel in late 1943, but the piece was to be changed utterly by the death of Jean Decarnin in August 1944, after which Genet completed the novel that autumn and entitled it Pompes funebres (Funeral Rites).

Genet's sensual and brutal portrait of the Second World War (translated by Bernard Frechtman) unfolds between the poles of his grief for his lover Jean, killed in the Resistance during the liberation of Paris, and his perverse attraction to the collaborator Riton. Powerfully written, and with moments of great poetic subtlety, Funeral Rites is a dark meditation on the mirror images of love and hate, sex and death.

'Funeral Rites is quite possibly an evil book. It is clearly a brilliant book . . . a seminal document in the development of one of the most important literary imaginations of our time.' Washington Post-Times Herald

  • About Jean Genet

    Jean Genet was born in Paris in 1910. An illegitimate child who never knew his parents, he was abandoned to the Public Assistance Authorities. He was ten when he was sent to a reformatory for stealing; thereafter he spent time in the prisons of nearly every country he visited in thirty years of prowling through the European underworld. With ten convictions for theft in France to his credit he was, the eleventh time, condemned to life imprisonment. Eventually he was granted a pardon by President Auriol as a result of appeals from France's leading artists and writers led by Jean Cocteau.$$$His first novel, Our Lady of the Flowers, was written while he was in prison, followed by Miracle of the Rose, the autobiographical The Thief's Journal, Querelle of Brest and Funeral Rites. He wrote six plays: The Balcony, The Blacks, The Screens, The Maids, Deathwatch and Splendid's (the manuscript of which was rediscovered only in 1993). Jean Genet died in 1986.

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