Well Known French Playwrights


Jean Genet

Jean Genet was a famous poet, political activist, novelist, essayist and playwriter from France. Genet lived a rough and reckless life in his early years but discovered his true calling in words and never looked back. If you have read the books Our Lady of the Flowers, The Thief’s Journal, Genet was the guy behind the pen. He is also responsible for top-selling French plays like The Maids and The Screens, The Balcony.

After so many years of reckless living, Genet got back on track, and by the year 1949, he has already finished three plays, five novels, and countless poems. Most of his works were very controversial for being explicit, immoral and with suggestions on criminality and homosexuality. Another writer called Sartre then attacked him. Sartre dropped the bomb on Genet by writing extensively on his development as a writer and activist. In this publication, Sartre openly criticized Gent’s style of literature, and it hurt Genet so much that he did not write for the next five years.

Genet resumed writing in the year 1955, and the next six years he came up with three new plays and the very controversial essay “What Remains of a Rembrandt Torn into Four Equal Pieces and Flushed Down the Toilet”. This essay made rounds on the French media as Genet expressed how he felt about Jacques Derrida’s analysis of one his works named Glas.

Genet briefly fell in love with Abdallah Bentaga who was a tightrope walker at that time. After the end of that emotional attachment, Genet relapsed into a period of depression. He suffered a couple of accidents and even attempted suicide. He finally moved on to become a political activist during late 1960s. His first public appearance for this cause was the event on the honor of Daniel Cohn-Bendit which took place in May 1968.

He further went on to participate in various demonstrations in support for the upgrade of the living conditions of immigrants in France. He then traveled to the united states on the invitation of the Black Panthers to give various lectures and talks on different political matters. Jean Genet is always remembered as one of the greatest playwrights from France as his works and accomplishments are still celebrated in the country.

Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre

Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French playwright, political activist, philosopher, biographer, and literary critic known for his works on the philosophy of phenomenology and existentialism. Charles was one of the strong figures responsible for the propagation of French philosophy and Marxism in the 20th – century.

He is renowned for his influence on French post-colonial theory, sociology, and literary studies. His works have continued to influence these disciplines in France today.

Charles was romantically involved with another prominent writer, feminist and existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir. Both of the formed a bond that flowed beyond romance to the daily challenges of the common man as they developed and established their works in Existentialism. Charles went on win a Noble Prize in Literature in 1964. However, he turned down the award explicitly saying that “a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution”.

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