The Crime of Jean Genet

Dominique Eddé

Translated by Ros Schwartz, Andrew Rubens


5.5 x 7.75 inches, 136 pp. April 2016

ISBN : 9780857423399

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Dominique Eddé met novelist and playwright Jean Genet in the 1970s. And she never forgot him. “His presence,” she writes, “gave me the sensation of icy fire. Like his words, his gestures were full, calculated and precise. . . . Genet’s movements mimicked the movement of time, accumulating rather than passing.”

This book is Eddé’s account of that meeting and its ripples through her years of engaging with Genet’s life and work. Rooted in personal reminiscences, it is nonetheless much broader, offering a subtle analysis of Genet’s work and teasing out largely unconsidered themes, like the absence of the father, which becomes a metaphor for Genet’s perpetual attack on the law. Tying Genet to Dostoevsky through their shared fascination with crime, Eddé helps us more clearly understand Genet’s relationship to France and Palestine, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, the theater, and even death.  A powerful personal account of the influence of one writer on another, The Crime of Jean Genet is also one of the most penetrating explorations yet of Genet’s work and achievement.

Born in Lebanon, Dominique Eddé is the author of several novels including Pourquoi il fait si sombre? (Why is it so Dark?, 1999) as well as an essay on Jean Genet and a book of interviews with the psychoanalyst André Green. In 1991, she curated and published the photographic project 'Beirut City Centre' featuring, in particular, the work of Robert Frank and Joseph Koudelka. She lives in Turkey.


Ros Schwartz has translated over 60 works of fiction and non-fiction, particularly novels by contemporary Francophone writers including Andrée Chedid, Ousmane Sembène, Yasmina Khadra and Aziz Chouaki. Her co-translation (with Amanda Hopkinson) of Dominique Manotti's lorraine Connection won the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger Award in 2008. She was made a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2009. She is Chair of English PEN's Writers in Translation Programme.

Andrew Rubens is a writer and translator whose work has appeared in the Glasgow Review of Books, Charlie Hebdo, and PN Review.

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