Miracle of the Rose was Jean Genet's second vel, composed in 1943 while the author was incarcerated in La Sante prison, and eventually published in 1946. The work itself is informed by Genet's memories of confinement, both in 'adult' prisons and the Mettray reformatory where he spent three years from the age of 15. However, as in his earlier Our Lady of the Flowers, Genet's imagination transfigures lived experience and makes for a vivid fictional world governed by the poetic force of his fantasies. The central figure in the vel is Harcamone, whom Genet first encountered at Mettray and who resurfaces, unsurprisingly, in the adult prison of Fontevrault - w a murderer, and, in the world-turned-upside-down of Genet's vision, a quasi-divine figure. Genet further explores the path of his own sexuality through accounts of his physical relations with fellow inmates, including the burglar Bulkean and his ex-Mettray lover, Divers.
Jean Genet was born in Paris in 1910. An illegitimate child who never knew his parents, he was abandoned to the Public Assistance Authorities. He was ten when he was sent to a reformatory for stealing; thereafter he spent time in the prisons of nearly every country he visited in thirty years of prowling through the European underworld. With ten convictions for theft in France to his credit he was, the eleventh time, condemned to life imprisonment. Eventually he was granted a pardon by President Auriol as a result of appeals from France's leading artists and writers led by Jean Cocteau.$$$His first novel, Our Lady of the Flowers, was written while he was in prison, followed by Miracle of the Rose, the autobiographical The Thief's Journal, Querelle of Brest and Funeral Rites. He wrote six plays: The Balcony, The Blacks, The Screens, The Maids, Deathwatch and Splendid's (the manuscript of which was rediscovered only in 1993). Jean Genet died in 1986.