This project will investigate the criminality of Eugène Vidocq, who after years of being on the margins of society as a criminal, decided to accept rehabilitation. This project also reexamines prior research done on criminality in the life of Jean Genet—specifically the concept of his rejection of rehabilitation. Genet who is unlike Vidocq embraces the role of the outcast through his full acceptance of the criminal. The abandoned child of a prostitute, Genet grew up in the streets, but he moved from crimes of necessity to a passion for crime. In his work The Thief’s Journal, which is semi-autobiographical, he relishes his life of crime and his experiences with imprisonment. Through crime, he was able to rebel against the failings of French society. His rejection of rehabilitation was due to his identity as a perfect outcast from society and his love for treachery, thievery, and homosexuality—all methods to him of breaking from societal oppression and hypocrisy. Eugène Vidocq was a hardened criminal turned detective and author through experiencing turning points in his life structure and identity. Regarding Vidocq this project conducts an analysis of his life of crime from his written works in the Memoirs of Vidocq to conceptualize his acceptance of rehabilitation which culminated in the desistance of criminal activity. Finally, contemporary criminological theories of criminality will be used on these two authors to contrast the reasons behind Genet’s rejection of rehabilitation and Vidocq’s acceptance of rehabilitation.
Trovato, Daniel Elijah
"Criminality in French Literature: An Examination of Acceptance and Rejection of Rehabilitation in the Works of Jean Genet and Eugène Vidocq,"
The Macksey Journal: Vol. 1
, Article 152.
Available at: https://www.mackseyjournal.org/publications/vol1/iss1/152