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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Bernard Frechtman Translator.
Jean-Paul Sartre Introduction. The two plays featured in this volume represent Genet's first attempts to analyze the mores of a bourgeois society he had previously been content simply to vilify. In The Maids, two domestic workers, deeply resentful of their inferior social position, try to revenge themselves against society by destroying their employer. When their attempt to betray their mistress's lover The two plays featured in this volume represent Genet's first attempts to analyze the mores of a bourgeois society he had previously been content simply to vilify.
When their attempt to betray their mistress's lover to the police fails and they are in danger of being found out, they dream of murdering Madame, little aware of the true power behind their darkest fantasy. In the second play Deathwatch, two convicts try to impress a third, who is on the verge of achieving legendary status in criminal circles. But neither realizes the lengths to which they will go to gain respect or that, in the end, nothing they can do--including murder--will get them what they are searching for.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published February 16th by Grove Press first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3.
Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Aug 10, Sketchbook rated it did not like it. Do you dust, darling? Well, that's not good enough. We're s'posed to be lemmings and praise Genet. Role-playing The Maids was hotcha topic in the 50s, how tiresome today. But so is Genet with his queer brawls. View all 9 comments. Nov 20, sologdin rated it it was ok Shelves: of-best-sentence-and-moost-solaas.
The first text, The Maids , concerns two servants who plan elaborate rebellions against their master, via acting out the murder. The second text is a prison narrative, Deathwatch , involving the politics of inmate hierarchies and how they interface with official authority. View 2 comments. Aug 18, Paul rated it it was ok Shelves: reviewed-by-me , fiction-literature. I doubt it was all that much better in French in I would be tickled to learn that the fearsome Genet shied away from profanity for some reason.
Deathwatch reads like Sartre's No Exit relocated to a prison setting and given a slight homoerotic frisson. I suspect Sartre felt the same way; in his introduction, he only mentions it in passing, by way of drawing out some element of The Maids. That's not good. Apr 29, Scott Moore rated it really liked it. Sartre's gender analysis in the introduction, however, can fly a kite. I liked the Deathwatch better than the Maids, but after reading Sartre's introduction I read it in the end on purpose , I was amazed by Sartre's great mind and his understanding of Genet.
Very interesting work. It is my first time to read Genet. Jun 22, Ali rated it really liked it Shelves: modern-plays , great-ones. The Maids is loosely based on the infamous Paoin sisters who brutally murdered their employer and her daughter, in France , though the play is not the story of the Papin sisters as such.
Genet's original intention was that the two maids and Madame, be performed by male actors. Feb 12, Andy rated it it was amazing Shelves: dramarama , kool-imports. Their banter is bitter and hateful with sneaky, snaky overtones of incest, lesbianism and the inevitable BDSM fetish business the French do so well.
BTW, let this and The Balcony serve as evidence that Genet wrote just as well for women as he did for underworld Parisian butch homo street toughs. Dec 28, Dave rated it really liked it Shelves: 20th-century , scripts , french. They explore the notion of identity as performance; gender, occupation, and emotion are just shades that lay over the aggressive and terrible terrible in the OLD sense of the word blank of the unconscious.
Real sick, but genius. Can I still call myself sex-positive if I say that Sartre's intro essay is masturbatory at best? The Maids was incredible, Sartre's analysis was indulgent and disorienting, and you won't be missing anything if you skip Deathwatch. Aug 28, JS Found rated it it was amazing. My first Genet.
The Maids is a very compelling two person play about mad sisters who work as servants for a rich woman. They plan on killing her. This was partially based, if I'm not mistaken, on an actual French case where two sisters gruesomely murdered their masters. But this isn't a straightforward femme fatale thriller.
Rather its a disorienting psychological study of love and hate, and how the two really are the same. Also about the degeneracy of being a maid, if you think yourself not in My first Genet. Also about the degeneracy of being a maid, if you think yourself not in that class. The play opens with the sisters enacting out a role-playing game where one pretends to be their mistress and the other pretends to be the other sister. Then the they do this again at the end. I think Genet is making points about levels of power in master-servant relationships, also in husband-wives relationships, but the play is disturbing and visceral enough that those points get subsumed in a horror film.
Deathwatch was a little hard to understand, even though I read it twice. It's probably me--a diet of pop culture with little reading of poetry and drama will do that to you.
I Should rectify that. There are three characters here, instead of two, all in prison. One of them is on death row and will be executed very shortly. The other two vie for his respect and affections, so they fight each other.
There is some latent homoeroticism. Genet was gay, wrote about it, and apparently his work was banned in many countries because of it. Once again, Genet seems to be concerned with the hierarchy of power relationships, but beyond that I have no idea what he's trying to say or why he wrote the play. Which by the way, according to Edmund White's biography, he thought this was his worst work.
I plan on reading more of his stuff. Mar 04, Phillip rated it really liked it Shelves: drama. But basically it's not the kind of play I particularly enjoy. So while I appreciate the play and Genet's work as important theatrical influences, I wouldn't say I genuinely enjoyed reading this play. Not even in the sense that many people seem to experience Genet's theatre, which seems to be with a kind of stunned awe. For me this play simply is.
I understand it and can appreciate it, but I don't particularly enjoy it, I would probably never choose to teach it, and I would probably be fine if I never read it again or saw it performed. I did actually see a teleplay version of The Maids a while back, without really knowing much about Genet, his work, or the characteristics of his theatre.
I don't remember caring much for the teleplay at the time either. Jul 22, Denise Mullins rated it it was ok.
Deathwatch review – Genet's clammily powerful prison struggle
Three prisoners are locked up in the same cell. Green-Eyes Yeux-Verts has killed a woman and is to be guillotined. Maurice and Lefranc are sentenced for more minor crimes. Maurice has a deep attachment to Green-Eyes, as does Lefranc, but secretly.
Deathwatch By Jean Genet
Deathwatch by Jean Genet