Jean Genet pp 123-148 | Cite as

‘The Screens’: Mother and Son or the Third World’s Revenge

  • Jeannette L. Savona
Part of the Macmillan Modern Dramatists book series (MD)


The Screens, published in 1961, was written at the height of the Algerian War (1954–63). The present English translation is based on a slightly different stage version of the 1961 text. During 1976 Genet published a second official version (L’Arbalète edition), which has now come out in the fifth volume of the Oeuvres complètes (Gallimard, 1979). In this updated form, about twenty pages of stage instructions and author’s notes appear among the sixteen tableaux (the thirteenth and fourteenth tableaux of the 1961 text having now been combined into one).


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    For a thorough study of the productions of The Screens until 1968 see Odette Asian, ‘Les Paravents de J. Genet’, in Les Voies de la création théâtrale, III, pp. 13–107.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Walter Donohue, ‘Genet’s The Screens at Bristol’, Theatre Quarterly, 4, 13 (1974), pp. 75–90.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 61. Many critics have referred to Fanon in their interpretations of either The Blacks or The Screens but no one has underscored the resemblance between Fanon’s dialectic of decolonisation and the plot of The Screens. Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See Joan Gillespie, Algeria: Rebellion and Revolution (New York: Praeger, 1960);Google Scholar
  5. Edgar O’Ballance, The Algerian Insurrection, 1954–62 (Hamden: Archon Books, 1967);Google Scholar
  6. Alf Andrew Heggoy, Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Algeria (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1972).Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    This point has been made by N. Joseph Calarco: ‘Vision without compromise: Genet’s The Screens’, Drama Survey, 4, 1 (1965), p. 49.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    See Fadéla M’Rabat, La Femme algérienne and Les Algériennes (Paris: Maspero, 1969).Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    Bernard Dort, ‘Genet: the Struggle with Theater’, in P. Brook and J. Halpern (eds.), Genet, pp. 114–28.Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    Lucien Goldmann, ‘The Theater of Genet: a Sociological Study’, in P. Brook and J. Halpern (eds), Genet, p. 44.Google Scholar
  11. 9.
    See Theodore Shank, American Alternative Theater (London: Macmillan Press, 1982), especially Chapter 5; ‘New Formalism’.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 10.
    Playboy interview, p. 48.Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    Jean Genet, Letters to Roger Blin: Reflections on the Theater, p. 14.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jeannette L. Savona 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeannette L. Savona
    • 1
  1. 1.Trinity CollegeTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations