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Criminal Child: And Other Essays

Criminal Child: And Other Essays

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Overview

Criminal Child offers the first English translation of a key early work by Jean Genet. In 1949, in the midst of a national debate about improving the French reform-school system, a French radio station commissioned Genet to write about his experience as a juvenile delinquent. He sent back a piece about his youth that was a paean to prison instead of the expected horrifying exposé. Revisiting the cruel hazing rituals that had accompanied his incarceration, relishing the special argot spoken behind bars, Genet wondered if regulating that strange other world wouldn’t simply prevent future children from discovering their essentially criminal nature in the way that he had. The radio station chose not broadcast Genet’s views.
 
“Criminal Child” appears here with a selection of Genet’s finest essays, including his celebrated piece on the art of Alberto Giacometti.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681373621
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 12/17/2019
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 280

About the Author

Jean Genet (1910–1986) was born in Paris. Abandoned by his mother at seven months, he was raised in state institutions and charged with his first crime when he was ten. After spending many of his teenage years in a reformatory, Genet enrolled in the Foreign Legion, though he later deserted, turning to a life of thieving and pimping that resulted in repeated jail terms and, eventually, a sentence of life imprisonment. In prison he began to write—poems and prose that combined pornography and an open celebration of criminality with an extraordinary baroque, high literary style—and on the strength of this work found himself acclaimed by such literary luminaries as Jean Cocteau, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir, whose advocacy secured a presidential pardon for him in 1948. Between 1944 and 1948 Genet wrote four novels, Our Lady of the Flowers, Miracle of the Rose, Funeral Rites, and Querelle, and the scandalizing memoir A Thief’s Journal. Throughout the 1950s he devoted himself to theater, writing the boldly experimental and increasingly political plays The Balcony, The Blacks, and The Screens. After a silence of some twenty years, Genet began his last book, Prisoner of Love, in 1983. It was completed just before he died.
 
Jeffrey Zuckerman is an editor and translator from the French. He is the digital editor of Music & Literature and his recent translations include Ananda Devi’s Eye Out of Her Ruins and Antoine Volodine’s Radiant Terminus. Zuckerman’s writing and translations have appeared in Best European Fiction, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review Daily, Tin House, and Vice. He lives in New York.
 
Charlotte Mandell is a translator of French literature. She was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and attended the Université de Paris III and Bard College. She lives in the Hudson valley.