Miracle of the Rose

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Miracle of the Rose
The Miracle of the Rose.jpg
First US edition
AuthorJean Genet
Original titleMiracle de la rose
TranslatorBernard Frechtman
CountryFrance
LanguageFrench
GenreSemi-autobiographical novel
PublisherMarc Barbezat - L'Arbalete (Original French)
Grove Press (US)
A. Blond (UK)
Publication date
1946
Published in English
1966
Media typePrint
ISBN978-1-1270-5464-0 (English hardcover)
Preceded byOur Lady of the Flowers 
Followed byFuneral Rites 

Miracle of the Rose (French: Miracle de la rose) is a 1946 book by Jean Genet about experiences as a detainee in Mettray Penal Colony and Fontevrault prison - although there is no direct evidence of Genet ever having been imprisoned in the latter establishment. This autobiographical work has a non-linear structure: stories from Genet's adolescence are mixed in with his experiences as a thirty-year-old man at Fontevrault prison. At Mettray, Genet describes homosexual erotic desires for his fellow adolescent detainees. There is also a fantastical dimension to the narrative, particularly in Fontevrault passages concerning a prisoner called Harcamone who is condemned to death for murder. Genet idolises Harcamone and writes poetically about the rare occasions on which he catches a glimpse of this character. Genet was detained in Mettray Penal Colony between 2 September 1926 and 1 March 1929, after which, at the age of 18, he joined the Foreign Legion.

In popular culture[edit]

The Pogues released a song titled "Hell's Ditch", which contains references to the novel. The composer Hans Werner Henze composed a piece with a title of the same name 'Le Miracle de la Rose'.

Poison (1991), written and directed by Todd Haynes, adapts scenes from Genet's novel.

References[edit]

Luc Forlivesi, Georges-François Pottier and Sophie Chassat, Educate & Punish: the agricultural penal colony of Mettray (1839-1937) (in French), Presses universitaires de Rennes, October 2005.