The Thief’s Journal

ISBN: 1596541377
ISBN 13: 9781596541375
By: Jean Genet

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Classics Currently Reading Favorites Fiction France French French Literature Literature Queer To Read

About this book

Genet's fictionalized and distant account of his rambles through France, Czechoslavakia, Germany and elsewhere in the '30s and '40s, covering his time in prison, his relationships with men such as the one-armed Stilitano, along with erotic accounts of his lovers during the period, and interspersed with meditation and daydreams.

Reader's Thoughts

MARTI

Hırsızlık, erdem, toplum, eşcinsellik, korkular, politika.. Jean Genet'nin (ve aslında hepimizin) iç dünyasına muhteşem bir yolculuk. En sevdiklerimden.

Sam

Les Genêts du malJouer avec la matière du passé, la modeler avec lyrisme, l'héroisant presque. Un exercice autobiographique des plus sincères. Cri et murmure, vérité et mensonge, Jean Genet vole ses souvenirs, pour la beauté du mal, et de l'amour."Nous savons que notre langage est incapable de rappeler même le reflet de ces états défunts, étrangers. Il en serait de même pour tout ce journal s'il devait être la notation de qui je fus. Je préciserai donc qu'il doit renseigner sur qui je suis, aujourd'hui que je l'écris. Il n'est pas une recherche du temps passé, mais une œuvre d'art dont la matière-prétexte est ma vie d'autrefois. Il sera un présent fixé à l'aide du passé, non l'inverse. Qu'on sache donc que les faits furent ce que je les dis, mais l'interprétation que j'en tire c'est ce que je suis - devenu."Ainsi est ce journal où les fragments d'une vie d'errance, de vol et d'amour se heurtent les uns aux autres, formant un alliage brut, étincelant. Il les répète (beaucoup), il les inverse, il les transcende, il les redéfinie. Poète, esthète, Genet taille les mots, ses mots pour livrer une déclaration d'âme, d'amour au vol et aux hommes beaux et forts. Il livre en vrac sa légende, non pas une vie, mais l'interprétation d'une vie où la trahison est magnifique et magnifiée, où les corps sont forts, une existence vers une sainteté, où l'âme est forgée dans la honte et dans l'orgueil. Le voleur trouve la beauté la plus divine dans les choses les plus veules, à l'envers de notre monde, nous à qui il s'adresse parfois comme si nous vivions dans deux univers différents, notre monde auquel il viendra se joindre, duquel il fait partie lorsqu'il noircit ces pages. Cependant, à la lecture de ce journal, on plonge dans le terrier, dans un pays des merveilles qui n'est pas supposé en être un, et pourtant. Oui, et pourtant. Le livre fermé, j'ai eu un sentiment viscéral d'avoir volé, trahi et aimé. Et ce monde de salauds que je réalise n'avoir fait que visiter l'espace et le temps de quelques pages, ce monde où les bagnards sont des fleurs, et le bagne, un paradis rêvé, idéalisé, ce monde me manque. Oui, l'Espagne me manque."Je parle de quelqu'un (...) mort depuis toujours, c'est-à-dire fixé, car je refuse de vivre pour une autre fin que celle même que je trouvais contenir le premier malheur: que ma vie doit être légende c'est-à-dire lisible et sa lecture donner naissance à quelque émotion nouvelle que je nomme poésie. Je ne suis plus rien, qu'un prétexte." (conclusion d'une merveilleuse tirade, un des moments forts du livre)

Isil

http://okudumdanoldu.blogspot.be/2011...Kitabın ilk 3-4 sayfasında resmen ağladım. Sonra alıştım. O kadar edebi bir dil kullanmış ki yazar, fransızcası ağırdı yani. Uzun zamandır fransızca okumamamın da etkisi herhalde. Neyse sonraları alıştım okudum güzelce. Yazarın otobiyografisi gibi bu "Hırsızın Günlüğü" kitabı. İlgilenene Türkçesi Ayrıntı yayınlarından çıkmış. Peki nerden okudum bu kitabı? Sevgili Patti Smithçiğimin kitabında inanılmaz bir Genet hayranlığı var. Hatta Paris'e gittiğinde müzesini de ziyaret ediyor. Neyse gelelim Genet'ye kimdir nedir.. Efendim kitap 1930lardan 2. Dünya Savaşı'na kadar olan dönemi içeriyor. Bir bakıma inanılmaz bir gezgin Genet, Avrupa'nın bir sürü yerinde yaşıyor. Ama nasıl yaşıyor? Kendisi bir homoseksüel, hırsız, fahişe, bir hain ve bir yazar. Avrupa'yı hapishane hapishane geziyorum diyor kendisi de. Aşık olduğu ve beraber olduğu veya olamadığı erkekleri öyle bir tarif etmiş ki, böyle bir şehveti ben ne bir kadının erkek için yazdığını ne de bir erkeğin kadın için yazdığını gördüm. Anlatılan sabit bir olay yok. Bir ileriden bir geriden sahneler var. Hayatında önemli erkeklerden bahsetmiş, Java, Stilitano, Armand, Lucien, Salvador vs.Kitabı bitirdikten sonra benim aklıma gelen önemli birşey şu oldu. Gezgin insanlar, bütün hayatları boyunca ordan oraya gidenler, acaba bir noktada hırsızlığa başvurmak durumunda kalır mı? Hani bileyim de ona göre çıkacağım yola.....L'expérience est douloureuse et je ne l'ai pas encore achevée.. sayfa243...La trahison, le vol et l'homosexualité sont les sujets essentiels de ce livre. Un rapport existe entre eux, sinon apparent toujours, du moins me semble-t-il reconnaître une sorte d'échange vasculaire entre mon goût pour la trahison, le vol et mes amours... sayfa193...Les Allemands seuls, à l'époque de Hitler réussirent à être à la fois la Police et la Crime. Cette magistrale synthèse des contraires d'un magnétisme qui nous affolera longtemps... sayfa214

Joey

Maybe it was just because my version had a bad translation, but somehow I just couldn't enjoy the book. I highly appreciate the story of Genet' but I have a real trouble to truly understand his point of views. Definitely going to read this in original language in the future.

Andrew

I was given this book when I was 16 years old by a friend and I couldn't put it down. Reading it for the first time in my youth at a time when I was wrestling with coming out of the closet in the 1980s, Genet's writing felt like an invitation to live life as an openly gay man. I was enraptured with Genet's portrayal of the other, the underbelly of a society, his romantic obsessions with the unattainable and the transgressions of power read with a horrible honesty and credibility. His stories for me were a a recognition, and witness to the power within oneself in the face of adversity. I felt like I finally had found a kindred spirit through his unique and unrelenting voice.I gave that copy of the paper back book back to my friend after I finished reading it. And ever since then I've been looking for my own copy. I was lucky enough to find it in a book store in the east village and immediately bought it.

Mr.

Jean Genet's absorbing work of literary autobiography traverses the boundaries of genre with stunning ingenuity and imagination. This work is in some ways similar to Capote's use of the so-called "non-fiction novel," in that it recalls apparently true events through the lens of fiction. This is the reflection of a petty thief, and vagabond. Genet is a young man wandering Europe and immersing himself in a world of crime and depravity. He fuses his homosexuality with nefarious hooliganism to play off of our civilization's utter contempt for effeminate males. Genet blurs the boundary of morality with Nietzschean fury as he revels in his self projected "evil." Perhaps what is most astonishing about 'The Thief's Journal' is the way in which Jean Genet comments on his own commentary with startling frankness and lucidity. In many ways this work established many of the literary mechanics of what is now referred to as "post-modern," though Genet achieves the same level of complexity without sacrificing clarity or beauty in the process

Kevin Cole

Monsieur Genet is one strange cat. He's a poet who writes prose. Everything that's ugly to us, he thinks is beautiful. Worst/Best of all, he has talent, and before you know it, you begin looking at things they way he does. I'm not comfortable with that. So I stopped reading him.

Tosh

Without a doubt one in a proper life needs to be obsessed with the early Kinks, a love of Howlin' Wolf, read the entire works of Oscar Wilde, to know that there is a big difference between Brian Jones era Rolling Stones to the current Ron Wood years, the love of Charles Shaw brand of wine, and this novel by Jean Genet.It's a must for every young man and woman to read as a teenager. For old men like me it brings a tear to my eye. And why is it that?There is something so incredibly romantic about Genet - and it goes beyond the gay or straight world - it's just a great twilight world where these people live. If you haven't read 'The Thief's Journal, do so. It's a great adventure of sorts.

José

La traición es la máxima expresión del amor; el crimen, el robo, la homosexualidad son todos elementos escenciales, herramientas que utiliza Genet para trascender en el mundo subterráneo de las ciudades europeas en los años treinta. Para el autor, las acciones no tienen consecuencias éticas o morales, solamente estéticas, y por lo tanto, lo vil, lo marginado y lo andrajoso es adornado con flores, con una narrativa hermosísima llena de lirismo. El diario es una lectura complicada y densa, no sigue una estructura clara, fluye entre diferentes escenarios, diferentes temporalidades, desestabiliza las nociones sobre el bien y el mal, está lleno de nociones tradicionalmente contradictorias, los personajes más crueles son al mismo tiempo portadores de ternura, los actos criminales son descritos como ritos sagrados llenos de significado. Por otro lado, al ser un texto semi auto biográfico, es interesante conocer acerca del submundo de prostitutos, chulos, criminales, asesinos, prisiones, tráfico, espías y méndigos que pupulaban en países como España, Bélgica, Polonia, la antigua Checoslovaquia, Italia y Francia; un mundo donde al parecer la maculinidad y el deseo erótico por personas del mismo sexo coexistían hasta cierto punto.

Marri

I started out enthusiastic, enticed, and indeed won over by Jean Genet's prose. But the prose only gets more convoluted, and without a clear narrative to boulster it, this collapses under my expectations and hopes for it. I wonder if to read it again in the future would be to take more from it, but I find myself looking forward to the end of it and generally disappointed by my reading. I wanted the nitty-gritty details of the criminal life with the autobiographical clarity of 'Down and Out in Paris and London,' but what I got read like a long, self-exploratory and retrospective poem meets philosophical tract.I understand this book is considered important, for (as the script on the back points out), Genet was "one of the first writers to openly avow his homosexuality and to see both homosexuality and criminality as legitimate literary subjects, creating in his works the hero-criminal and hero-homosexual." For this I suppose we're indebted to Genet, and I suspect I might like his other less autobiographical works more. But as is often the case when a new literary trope is generated and expressed, it comes across as too enamoured with itself and too self-conscious. In short, I couldn't relate and engage with the tale because of the way it was told, and I wonder if something wasn't lost in translation to English as well.In short, while it has some golden vignettes and some intriguing characters, the stuff that binds them together is too thin a soup for me to make a hearty recommendation of this.

Andrew

It's always been rather modish to lavish approval on Jean Genet-- if you dig transgressive fiction, Genet's going to be your guy, as most flamingly gay, ex-con, ex-homeless, left-wing French writers who hobnobbed with Black Panthers are bound to be. But aside from the fact that it is a TRANSGRESSIVE FRENCH NOVEL almost to the point of parody, it's still a well-written account of a forgotten subterranean world. RIYL William S. Burroughs and Gus Van Sant.

Brian

I couldn't help but love Genet's bloody dark queer heart after reading this. Such fine prose, beauty and unflinching literary bravery/vulnerability are rare in combination. I think it might be easy to forget, in 2012, that there was a time when tell-all literary autobiographies replete with ghastly admissions were almost unheard of, but this book obviously blew open a very wide doorway through which some of my favorite writers emerged. Given the ambition and successful execution of this memoir -- which Genet is always smart and postmodern enough to acknowledge as a work of literary fiction as much as factual memoir -- it seems almost unfair to criticize it, but it seemed to me at times like Genet was very much in love, in a way I've come to see often among French writers in particular, with the beauty and rhythm of his own prose, as opposed to the luminous, lucid intelligence behind it. At times, for me, because of this, it could be ponderous. But that really is a very small "criticism" relative to my esteem for Genet and what he produced here. Here's a gorgeous passage from the book that I hope will illustrate the kind of complex high points scattered throughout:"The beauty of a moral act depends on the beauty of its expression. To say this it is beautiful is to decide that it will be so. It remains to be proven so. This is the task of images, that is, of the correspondences with the splendors of the physical world. The act is beautiful if it provokes, and in our throat reveals, song. Sometimes the consciousness with which we have pondered a reputedly vile act, the power of expression which must signify it, impel us to song. This means that treachery is beautiful if it makes us sing..."It isn't, in other words, whether to be "wicked" or not; it's to be gorgeous and fully conscious in service to our chosen actions.

tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE

This is the Genet bk that had the greatest impact on me. I admired the clarity of his reporting & the certainty of his position. Somewhere in it, he states something to the effect that the people w/in it are not for the reader. In other words, that it takes a certain type of person to adapt to their criminality & that the likely reader of the bk is probably not that type. I had to agree. Having read this so long ago my memory is, indeed, 'foggy', but I vaguely recall a one-armed murderer as a main character. Genet's depiction of him convinced me that I wdn't want to meet him. Genet loved him.

Jonathan yates

It reminds of Celine as written by a really gay mani really enjoyed it, very darkside of humanity bookcool

Richard C.

Amazed how modern and fresh the book is. Could have been written yesterday, not decades ago. I think that's because most literary themes are about the darkness lurking behind "the white picket fence." This was entirely the inverse - the poetry and salvation and "light" lurking behind the darkness of the underground. Some writers try this, and to my mind fail, but Genet pulls it off because he lived and profoundly believed in the "alternative" life style. In parts - particularly in the middle - it got a little French-verbose and preachy-philosophical, but as soon as Genet focused on the characters, I was mesmerized. A great 20th century classic and just 80 cents on Kindle. One of the best book buys I have ever found.

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