During the last two decades of his life, Jean Genet (1910-86) stopped writing novels and plays. Instead he wrote non-fictional stories and essays, many of with depicted Palestinian soldiers and refugees living in Jordan and Lebanon. In this article, Genet’s representation of Palestinians is discussed in the perspective of Edward Said’s orientalism theory. At first sight, the fact that Genet is a Westerner writing in French about a foreign people whose language he does not speak might suggest that he moulds Palestinian reality in order to fit Western thought and Western aesthetics, thereby producing orientalist discourse. However, rather than exploiting the East to strengthen Western identity, Genet uses Eastern reality to undermine Western thought. It is concluded that Genet does not meet Said’s criteria of orientalism since the Palestinians are situated at the centre of his world and occupy a privileged position that surpasses the interests of Western politics, culture, and identity.
Copyright (c) 2019 Karl Ågerup
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