Modern Archetypes: Artaud and Genet



Artaud and Genet differ from the earlier writers, Flaubert and Eekhoud, by making sexual revelation and discovery violent, thus reflecting contemporary cultural trends. Hartford postulates that they differ from each other in both their attitude towards Christianity and their use of the martyr figure. Both construct a network of references between their fictitious characters and orthodox religious figures. Artaud uses this metaphorical system as a counterexample for Christian culture as it is actually practiced, in order to explore the meaning of faith. In contrast, Genet parodies Christian culture and norms out of self-interest. The chapter concludes with a critical evaluation of Genet’s work and of his position in literary history, noting that Artaud, who is more innovative, has been relatively ignored for political reasons.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Merton CollegeOxfordUK

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