Jean Genet

French writer of novels and dramas for the theater of the absurd (1910-1986)

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Anyone who knows a strange fact shares in its singularity.
Crimes of which a people is ashamed constitute its real history. The same is true of man.
Excluded by my birth and tastes from the social order, I was not aware of its diversity. Nothing in the world was irrelevant: the stars on a general's sleeve, the stock-market quotations, the olive harvest, the style of the judiciary, the wheat exchange, flower-beds. Nothing. This order, fearful and feared, whose details were all inter-related, had a meaning: my exile.
Perhaps all music, even the newest, is not so much something discovered as something that re-emerges from where it lay buried in the memory, inaudible as a melody cut in a disc of flesh. A composer lets me hear a song that has always been shut up silent within me.
Power may be at the end of a gun, but sometimes it's also at the end of the shadow or the image of a gun.
The fame of heroes owes little to the extent of their conquests and all to the success of the tributes paid to them.
The main object of a revolution is the liberation of man... not the interpretation and application of some transcendental ideology.
We know that their adventures are childish. They themselves are fools. They are ready to kill or be killed over a card-game in which an opponent -- or they themselves -- was cheating. Yet, thanks to such fellows, tragedies are possible.
What I did not yet know so intensely was the hatred of the white American for the black, a hatred so deep that I wonder if every white man in this country, when he plants a tree, doesn't see Negroes hanging from its branches.
When the judge calls the criminal's name out he stands up, and they are immediately linked by a strange biology that makes them both opposite and complementary. The one cannot exist without the other. Which is the sun and which is the shadow? It's well known some criminals have been great men.

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