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An examination of the connection between sexuality and suffering - Essay Example

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In Journal du voleur and To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life both authors produce fictionalised memoirs which interrogate the very essence of truth and correlate love with suffering, rather than with joy. …
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An examination of the connection between sexuality and suffering
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Download file to see previous pages Journal du voleur is the closest Genet came to writing a traditional autobiography. As D’Asciano (1998) points out, though his other novels incorporate names from the author's life experience, the focus of these novels is to create mythical characters out of names pulled from Genet’s reality. The character “Genet” figures in these other novels as the creator/narrator, but it is in the Journal that Genet concentrates on recounting his life experience (D’Asciano, 1998). As White has shown in his biography of Genet, the chronology of events in Journal, while loosely followed, does, in fact, correspond with Genet's life in the late 1930's. What is most important to Genet, however, is not a simple recounting of his life story, but rather the elaboration of his aesthetic preoccupations. It is in this narrative that Genet identifies most clearly his means of literary production, and discusses the relationship of body to text. It is within the context of the stated reality, and as influenced by Genet’s own sexual proclivities, that the theme of sexuality and suffering asserts itself.
Traditionally, autobiography is a narrative form that has as its primary theme the recounting of the life of the author. The key element in identifying a narrative as autobiographical is, to use the terminology of Philippe Lejeune (1975, p. 1), the pacte autobiographie By identifying the pacte the ideal reader realises without a doubt that the character denoted by “I” is indeed a projection of the author on the page. Genet accomplishes this in Journal principally by providing verifiable statistics regarding his “statut civil,” - his date of birth and the circumstances which surrounded it. ...
Genet accomplishes this in Journal principally by providing verifiable statistics regarding his "statut civil," - his date of birth and the circumstances which surrounded it. Though a Genet character exists in Genet's other novels, this information appears only in Journal du voleur. What is most remarkable about this fact is that, rather than stabilizing the identity of the author, by its very nature it destabilises. The fact that Genet was orphaned at a young age, and that he knows only the name of his mother, and not that of his father, puts the author character in an awkward position in a society more patrilineal than most.
The Journal is in many ways, an aesthetic treatise, an examination of the ideas and practices that have made Genet a creator. The two fundamental concepts that drive his creation are "beauty," and a vertiginous space that we could call the "vide," or, "nothingness." As may be inferred from Barber's (2004) analysis of Journal, Genet's writing exists in a tense space between the aesthetic attractions of the physical world, and the intellectual imperative of the contemplation of the emptiness of existence. Genet attributes his attraction to the physical world to its beauty. Pinning down a precise meaning of beauty is difficult. In the short entry on "beauty" in the Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Aquinas is quoted as defining beauty as "that which pleases in the very apprehension of it" (Hondrich, 1995, p. 80). This definition, though vague, does point to two components of the assessment of beauty, the observer and the observed. There is no beauty without a subjectivity to apprehend it. The article goes on ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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