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Le Capital Amoureux : Imaginary Wealth and Revolution in Jean Genet’s Prisoner of Love

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This paper explores the relationship between revolution and corruption in Jean Genet’s accounts of the Palestinian movement in his final work, Prisoner of Love. For Genet, corruption does not simply expose the actions of a revolutionary subject as an empty impersonation, performed for the actual ends of acquiring personal power and fortune. Rather, it exposes the ‘pretension’ inherent in the revolution it undermines as well as in the accumulation of value (for which the revolution is betrayed). For Genet, the misappropriation of money by the Palestinian leadership makes manifest the imaginary character of both devotion to a revolutionary cause and greed for the commodity-fetish (value). Corruption, in other words, betrays revolution as well as the ‘imaginary wealth and power’ which the ‘game of revolution’ attempts to destroy.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Comparative Literature, University of California Irvine, Email:


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