David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Sartre Studies International 6 (2):12-25 (2000)
In this article, I argue that Sartre's biography of Jean Genet, Saint Genet Actor and Martyr, can serve as an instrument of liberation for pariahs living today. Like Sartre, I define the word "pariah" to mean people who have suffered trauma in their lives and who are internally and socially oppressed as a consequence. Saint Genet's power to free us arises paradoxically out of the conservative aspects for which it has been criticized in the last few years. I am referring especially to reproaches that Sartre makes things up about Genet's childhood just to suit his theories. In this paper, I also broaden the use of the term "pariah" to include some people who have only recently begun receiving respectful recognition such as survivors of domestic violence and child abuse, as well as female sufferers of depression. My views are inspired by research done in Sartre and Genet studies and also, by information provided so generously by fellow-pariahs and supporters in the medical field.
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