The Thief's Journal by Jean Genet ; Foreword by Jean-Paul Sartre

The Thief's Journal by Jean Genet ; Foreword by Jean-Paul Sartre

Regular price $ 50.00 $ 0.00

New York : Grove Press, 1964. First Edition. Hardcover. 268 pages ; 21 cm. Very good copy with original dust jacket, unmarked pages and square binding.

The Thief's Journal by Jean Genet
Foreword by Jean-Paul Sartre
Translated from the French by Bernard Frechtman

The Barrio Chino in Barcelona is a latticework of dark narrow streets bounded on one side by the elegant boulevard Las Ramblas and on the other by another broad thoroughfare the Parallelo. During the thirties it was inhabited by a motley international band of "beggars and thieves, fairies and whores" wretched beyond description. Perhaps it was natural, therefore, that the young outcast Jean Genet—an orphan, an escapee from the Mettray Reformatory, a deserter from the Foreign Legion—should have gravitated to this "sacred" pit of humanity. "It is the life of vermin I am going to describe," he notes early in this amazing journal, his first work following the explosive Our Lady of the Flowers. "Spain at the time was covered with vermin," he adds. "They went from village to village, to Andalusia because it was warm, to Catalonia because it was rich.... I was thus a louse and conscious of being one."

The key word is "conscious": everything in Genet is conscious, as he probes from within a reality hitherto rarely explored. With beauty and candor he describes and hymns his relationships with his various friends and lovers — miserable Salvador, whose flesh is the color of sawdust; Stilitano, a man of radiant and somber anger whose pride is matched only by his abject cowardice; the gypsy Pepe, who stabs a fellow gambler to death and is later caught and jailed through Stilitano's betrayal ("Betrayal is beautiful," writes Genet) ; graceful, virile Michaelis, with whom he visits the countries —and the prisons—of Central Europe.

If southern Spain and the arid country-side of Andalusia is the southern pole of this work, the northern pole is cold, gray Antwerp, where once again Stilitano appears. Between are glimpses of life—the thief s life —in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hitler's Germany, and France.

The fusion of Genet's poetic vision and his attitudes toward the world around him have no real parallel in modern literature. He is, as Sartre has noted, Narcissus, seeing himself everywhere: "the dullest surfaces reflect his image." As the world has rejected him, so he rejects the world's values, not by attacking them but by praising and hymning the values and actions the world fears and despises. When Java cringes with fear, "he is stunning"; fear itself is noble, shame and betrayal beautiful; prisons are objects of devotion, for they represent a refuge against the stings of society. In its honesty, its poetry, its freshness, The Thief s Journal is a beautiful work. "I do not fear to call this book," says Jean-Paul Sartre, "the most beautiful that Genet has written."

Q: What are your shipping rates and do you ship overseas?

A: Free Shipping within the United States. We ship worldwide. For more detail head over to our shipping page.

Q: Can you send me additional photographs of the book?

A: We are always happy to provide additional photographs of any book when a customer request them. Just send us an email via the contact us page.

Q: How do you ship your book? UPS, FedEx or USPS?

A: We primary use USPS but if requested we can ship with FedEx or UPS.

Q: How long will it take for my book to arrive?

A: In general, shipping will take about 3-5 business days within the United States.

Q: What are your return policy?

A: We offer a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee for all purchases regardless of the reason for the return. Further details about return and refund can be found on our return page under the link column below.

Q: What payment method do you accept?

A: We accept all major credit cards, as well as PAYPAL, APPLEPAY AND GOOGLEPAY.

We are always here to help so if you have any questions, just contact us via Facebook by way of that blue button on the left-hand side or send us an email via our contact us page. We also take phone calls from 10-5pm EST M-F at 617-599-2003.

More from this collection

By continuing to browse our site, you accept the use of cookies. Learn more