Fall 1955 • Vol. XVII No. 4 Book Reviews |

Ecstasy through Compulsion

The Maids and Deathwatch by Jean Genet. Translated by Bernard Frechtman. Grove Press. $4.75. These two one-act plays are the first complete works by Jean Genet to be published in this country. They have a preface by Jean-Paul Sartre, which ascribes to them, particularly The Maids, remarkable metaphysical subtlety, but their chief value may be simply to call attention to Genet's more important autobiographical Journal du Voleur which has been translated in Paris. The Maids received an off-Broadway performance last summer and attracted little critical attention. Both plays are feverish exercises, suggesting Strindberg in their preoccupation with exacerbated personal relations. Plainly they would require excellent acting to guarantee to an audience that their melodramatic climaxes arise from something other than the author's desire to end his play with a shock. Yet it is evidence of their merit that they invite such acting and even in the printed text suggest it. The story

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Honest Gide

By Lawrence Leighton

The Maids and Deathwatch by Jean Genet. Translated by Bernard Frechtman. Grove Press. $4.75. These two one-act plays are the first complete works by Jean Genet to be published in […]

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