“It’s a biography…of Jean Genet, who was quite famous at the time as a novelist, a playwright, and a poet. But he wasn’t hugely famous. Sartre had been asked to write a preface to a collected works of Genet, and what he ended up writing was a 700-page psychoanalytic tome. He did talk to Genet and studied his writings, which were strongly autobiographical. But to some extent what he was doing with Saint Genet was not just presenting a biography of a particular person, but rather showing how a whole person, with all of their tastes and mannerisms and works, can actually be a manifestation of a single underlying project. In a way, it’s a description of a possible person, a description of how the theory can be coherent and give a story about a person. In that way it doesn’t matter whether it’s actually true about Genet; that’s what I think he means when he deflects with those disarming comments. In many respects, what he’s doing in Saint Genet is rethinking the existentialism of Being and Nothingness because he has abandoned the idea of radical freedom because he’s been persuaded finally that Beauvoir is right about sedimentation. That’s why he cites The Second Sex a few times in Saint Genet…It’s probably the definitive statement of Sartre’s existentialism” Read more...
Underrated Existentialist Classics