Jean Genet

1910 (Paris) – 1986 (Paris)

Genet introduced himself to Cocteau, who helped get published the novel Genet had started in prison (Cocteau with Sartre helped save their friend from a life sentence). He modelled for and wrote eloquently about Giacometti, worked with Foucault opposing police brutality, reported on political shenanigans with Southern and Burroughs, and demonstrated with Duras. De Beauvoir, Derrida, Moravia, Goytisolo, Boulez and Stravinsky were all friends. Sartre’s long anonymous study of Genet, ‘Saint Genet’, stopped him writing for 5 years; as someone put it, “Cocteau inaugurated Genet’s career, Sartre consecrated it.”