The Genius of Jean Genet

It was from Sartre that I first heard of Jean Genet. This was some years back, in 1947, if I remember rightly. Sartre was visiting New York, and the editors of Partisan Review asked me to a luncheon for him. For most of the luncheon not much was said, mainly, …

Second Thoughts on Existentialism

Leon Shestov, a gifted Russian writer on philosophy, once criticized Plato and Aristotle, as well as Spinoza, Descartes, Kant and Hegel on the following grounds: Nothing said by these thinkers could be convincing or important, since none of them would have had anything important or convincing to say to Job.

Don’t Sing Your Crap

Genet’s new play is objectionable—but it is not morally objectionable. To be sure, the play smells; but it does not smell of badness, crime, or evil, which, because of their metaphysical connotations, may be thought of as having pure or elegant odors. Did not Baudelaire call his poems of evil …