Mysticism, Saintliness and Sexuality in Jean-Paul Sartre’s Saint Genet

Ruud Welten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


I want to propose a philosophical reading of saintliness and mysticism by focus- ing on a somewhat unexpected source. The source is Saint Genet, comédien et martyr (Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr, 1952) written by the French existential- ist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980).2 Saint Genet is a study on the French writer Jean Genet (1910-1986), who was a homosexual, pornographer and small-time thief, and who became the cuddle-criminal of the existentialist generation in post-war Paris. After having presented some context, I will first focus on the role of martyr- dom and rejection in Saint Genet. Second, I will focus on the dialectics of saintliness. Third, I will show that mysticism in Saint Genet must be understood in line with Sartre’s analysis of consciousness in Being and Nothingness and, fourth, I will elaborate on Sartre’s doctrine of sex as incarnation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Pages (from-to)177-191
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in Spirituality
Volumespecial issue
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • jean genet
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Love
  • sex
  • homosexuality


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