The Strange Genius of Violette Leduc

Deborah Levy at The Guardian:

Violette Leduc’s novels are works of genius and also a bit peculiar. It is not surprising that Jean Genet was one of Leduc’s early admirers, as were Simone de Beauvoir and Albert Camus. According to Edmund White’s autobiography My Lives, Genet and Leduc even made an amateur film together, a re‑enactment of a baptism in which Genet, who was an orphan, played the child and Leduc the mother. Both writers were illegitimate, born at a time – Leduc in 1907 – when such things mattered. The theatre of baptism with its narratives of belonging, of being ordained and claimed, must have been very potent to stage. The mind whirls at the thought of what they might have got up to. What a shame the film has been lost.

If, as White points out, both Proust and Genet “were dismantling all received ideas about the couple, manhood, love and sexual roles”, I would include Leduc in the rearranging of the social and sexual scaffolding of her time.

more here.