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Queer Book Club: "Our Lady of the Flowers" by Jean Genet

A reading group focusing on literature through a queer lens, hosted monthly at Chicago’s premier bookstore for the LGBTQ community. Alternating between the “classics” of gay fiction and contemporary, historically underrepresented voices, we read to explore queer experience across literary genres and eras! Join us in a friendly discussion once a month! For questions about this book club, email Matt at matt@unabridgedbookstore.com.

This month the Queer Book Club will meet to discuss Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet! Join us on Wednesday, January 25th or Tuesday, January 31st at 7:30pm.

Jean Genet's masterpiece, composed entirely in the solitude of his prison cell. With an introduction by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Jean Genet's first, and arguably greatest, novel was written while he was in prison. As Sartre recounts in his introduction, Genet penned this work on the brown paper which inmates were supposed to use to fold bags as a form of occupational therapy. The masterpiece he managed to produce under those difficult conditions is a lyrical portrait of the criminal underground of Paris and the thieves, murderers and pimps who occupied it. Genet approached this world through his protagonist, Divine, a male transvestite prostitute. In the world of Our Lady of the Flowers, moral conventions are turned on their head. Sinners are portrayed as saints and when evil is not celebrated outright, it is at least viewed with a benign indifference. Whether one finds Genet's work shocking or thrilling, the novel remains almost as revolutionary today as when it was first published in 1943 in a limited edition, thanks to the help of one its earliest admirers, Jean Cocteau.

The infamous playwright, poet, novelist, and criminal, Jean Genet, was born December 19th, 1910, in France. Genet’s mother, who was a young prostitute at the time of his birth, gave him up for adoption to a provincial family. By the age of fifteen, for repeated misdemeanors, Genet was incarcerated for three years, after which he joined the French Foreign Legion. He was dishonorably discharged for “lewd acts”, henceforth spending the next several years traveling around Europe, at times as a prostitute. In 1937 he came to Paris, where again he was arrested and imprisoned for vagabondage. It was in prison, though, that Genet personally funded his first novel Our Lady of the Flowers (1944).

 
Our Lady of the Flowers (Genet) By Jean Genet, Jean-Paul Sartre (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Jean Genet, Jean-Paul Sartre (Introduction by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802130136
Availability: Available, order here for delivery or pickup.
Published: Grove Press - January 12th, 1994

Event date: 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 - 7:30pm

Event address: 

Unabridged Books, Inc.
Chicago, IL 60657
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