Genet, Jean

  • Currently 0/5 Stars.
You may use the stars on the left to rate and leave feedback for the current article. No registration is required. Waiting for 5 votes 0.0 of 5 stars (0 votes) — Thanks for your vote

Please fill out the following optional information before submitting your rating:

Genet's early life seems shrouded in confusion. The three sources looked at present three different stories:

  1. One gives his birthdate as 19 December, that he was abandoned by his parents and spent much of his youth in juvenile detention. When he was 10 a false conviction for theft made him determine to live up to his bad name, and he spent the next years as a thief and male prostitute.
  2. The second gives his birthdate as 19 October, the son of a Paris prostitute, and orphaned when he was seven months old. He spent the next years as a ward of the state, but also says he had a guardian.
  3. The third states that he was a foundling and fostered by a family in rural impoverished France, where he lived until he was 12.

In any case, Genet was without his birth parents from a very early age, probably fostered by a poor family, and spent a good deal of time in custody even as a young child. He could hardly be a foundling in the sense we know it, since Genet is known to be his birth name. He did indeed spend much of his youth as a male prostitute and thief in France, Germany, Spain and possibly elsewhere, spent years in prison, and was a member of the French Foreign Legion in Morocco.

He began writing in 1943 and produced a number of highly respected and influential plays, screenplays and novels, most dealing explicitly with crime and homosexuality. He also directed films. He is considered one of the most influential European writers of the 20th century.

He died in a cheap hotel room in the same working-class district of Paris where he had been abandoned.


"Jean Genet." [Includes portrait]. Available at:
"Jean Genet (1910-1986)." [Includes portraits]. Available at:
White, Edmund. Introduction to Criminal Desires: Jean Genet and Cinema, by Jane Giles. (London: Creation Books, 2002): edited extract published in the Guardian [London], 5 October 2002


20th Century
Theater, Broadcasting, Cinema
Sexuality: Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transsexuals
Poor Educational Opportunities, Self-taught
Anti-social or Disruptive Behavior, Adhd
Criminal Convictions, Imprisonment
Homelessness, Drifting
Birth or Infancy
Orphaned (Both Parents)
Child Abandoned or Rejected by Birth Parent(s)
Foundlings and Feral Children
Others ("Strangers")
Very Poor (Financially) Adoptive or Foster Families
Institutional Care
Unmarried Mother
Visitor Comments (0) - Be the first to comment
Adding your comments contributes to the adoption community. Please keep all comments on topic and civil. Visitors are invited to comment and vote for or flag comments based on appropriateness and helpfulness. All comments must adhere to our commenting rules and are subject to moderation.

To see local Adoption resources, please select a location (U.S. only):

Need a Home Study?
Adoption Photolisting
Sergio (TX / 11 / M)
Sergio can be quite a loving and affectionate youth. He loves to give hugs. Sergio likes to play outdoors and get dirty! He enjoys participating in sports or riding his bike.... [more]
Parent Profiles
We would love to adopt your baby and give him or her a life full of love, family, and security. We promise to make you feel honored as your childís birth mother or father. In... [more]
Directory of Adoption Professionals
Find a professional
for all of your adoption needs including:

Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of

Settings Help Feedback
Template Settings
Width: 1024     1280
Choose a Location:
Choose a Theme: