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Jean Genet quotes (showing 1-30 of 104)

“Worse than not realizing the dreams of your youth would be to have been young and never dreamed at all.”
Jean Genet
“A man must dream a long time in order to act with grandeur, and dreaming is nursed in darkness.”
Jean Genet
“To achieve harmony in bad taste is the height of elegance.”
Jean Genet
“I could not take lightly the idea that people made love without me.”
Jean Genet, The Thief's Journal
“My heart's in my hand, and my hand is pierced, and my hand's in the bag, and the bag is shut, and my heart is caught.”
Jean Genet, Our Lady of the Flowers
“She was happy, and perfectly in line with the tradition of those women they used to call "ruined," "fallen," feckless, bitches in heat, ravished dolls, sweet sluts, instant princesses, hot numbers, great lays, succulent morsels, everybody's darlings . . . ”
Jean Genet, Querelle of Brest
“If we behave like those on the other side, then we are the other side. Instead of changing the world, all we'll achieve is a reflection of the one we want to destroy.”
Jean Genet, The Balcony
“I wanted to swallow myself by opening my mouth very wide and turning it over my head so that it would take in my whole body, and then the Universe, until all that would remain of me would be a ball of eaten thing which little by little would be annihilated: that is how I see the end of the world.”
Jean Genet, Our Lady of the Flowers
“Anyone who hasn't experienced the ecstasy of betrayal knows nothing of ecstasy at all.”
Jean Genet, Prisoner of Love
“They spent their time doing nothing... they let intimacy fuse them.”
Jean Genet, Our Lady of the Flowers
“Erotic play discloses a nameless world which is revealed by the nocturnal language of lovers. Such language is not written down. It is whispered into the ear at night in a hoarse voice. At dawn it is forgotten.”
Jean Genet, The Thief's Journal
“Ah those knock-out body fluids: blood, sperm, tears!”
Jean Genet, Querelle of Brest
“Slowly but surly I want to strip her of every kind of happiness as to make a saint of her.”
Jean Genet, Our Lady of the Flowers
“Betrayal is beautiful.”
Jean Genet, The Thief's Journal
“Limited by the world, which I oppose, jagged by it, I shall be all the more handsome and sparkling as the angles which wound me and give me shape are more acute and the jagging more cruel.”
Jean Genet, The Thief's Journal
“When I got to the street, I walked boldly. But I was always accompanied by an agonizing thought: the fear that honest people may be thieves who have chosen a cleverer and safer way of stealing.”
Jean Genet, Miracle of the Rose
“Added to the moral solitude of the murderer comes the solitude of the artist, which can acknowledge no authority, save that of another artist.”
Jean Genet, Querelle of Brest
“...beauty is the projection of ugliness and by developing certain monstrosities we obtain the purest ornaments.”
Jean Genet, Miracle of the Rose
“The pimp has a grin, never a smile.”
Jean Genet, The Balcony
“I recognize in thieves, traitors and murderers, in the ruthless and the cunning, a deep beauty - a sunken beauty. ”
Jean Genet
“It's the hour when night breaks away from the day, my dove, let me go.”
Jean Genet, The Balcony
“It's a true image, born of a false spectacle.”
Jean Genet, The Balcony
“When I beheld you, suddenly - for perhaps a second - I had the strength to reject everything that wasn't you and to laugh at the illusion. But my shoulders are very frail. I was unable to bear the weight of the world's condemnation. And I began to hate you when everything about you would have kindled my love and when love would have made men's contempt unbearable, and their contempt would have made my love unbearable. The fact is, I hate you.”
Jean Genet
“on him, under him, with his mouth pressed to hers, he sang to her uncouth songs that moved through her body.”
Jean Genet, Our Lady of the Flowers
“I leave you free to imagine any dialogue you please. Choose whatever may charm you. Have it, if you like, that they hear the voice of the blood, or that they fall in love at first sight... Conceive the wildest improbabilities. Have it that the depths of their beings are thrilled at accosting each other in slang. Tangle them suddenly in a swift embrace or a brotherly kiss. Do whatever you like.”
Jean Genet
“The hour between dog and wolf, that is, dusk, when the two can’t be distinguished from each other, suggests a lot of other things besides the time of day…The hour in which…every being becomes his own shadow, and thus something other than himself. The hour of metamorphoses, when people half hope, half fear that a dog will become a wolf. The hour that comes down to us from at least as far back as the early Middle Ages, when country people believed that transformation might happen at any moment.”
Jean Genet, Prisoner of Love
“The rims of his eyelids were burning. A blow received straightens a man up and makes the body move forward, to return that blow, or a punch-to jump, to get a hard-on, to dance: to be alive. But a blow received may also cause you to bend over, to shake, to fall down, to die. When we see life, we call it beautiful. When we see death, we call it ugly. But it is more beautiful still to see oneself living at great speed, right up to the moment of death. Detectives, poets, domestic servants and priests rely on abjection. From it, they draw their power. It circulates in their veins. It nourishes them.”
Jean Genet, Querelle of Brest
“To write is your last resort when you've betrayed someone.”
Jean Genet
“The despondency that follows makes me feel somewhat like a shipwrecked man who spies a sail, sees himself saved, and suddenly remembers that the lens of his spyglass has a flaw, a blurred spot -- the sail he has seen.”
Jean Genet, Our Lady of the Flowers
“One can hear all that's going on in the street. Which means that from the street one can hear what's going on in this house.”
Jean Genet, The Balcony

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