Article Title

Genet's The Blacks and The Screens: Dialectic of Refusal and Revolutionary Consciousness


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Genet's first three plays are dramatizations of his personal adventures. Deathwatch and The Maids permit only the staging of an abbreviated version of the scandalous chronicle of his life because their form is neo-classical. The Balcony, which is a chronicle, presents the significant stations of his journey completely. The anti-heroes of all three plays pursue essentially the same adventure and make similar moral choices. So much so that Joseph Campbell's description of the epic quest, when turned upside down, might serve as a workable definition of the action of the· plays. The anti-hero ventures forth from the order of the bourgeois state into the underworld of pariahs and felons. Fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive defeat is won. The anti-hero comes back from his mysterious adventure with the power to avenge himself on the bourgeois state and the society of reprobates whom he rejects because they rejected him.1

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