The fruitfulness which distinguishes and blesses our latter-day Ishmaels is rather the flowering of the symbolic. It is the power of the word, the fascination of metaphor and the seduction of narrative that confer royalty upon them, a royalty which Genet, at least, actively asserts. The internalisation of negative social attitudes is seen as producing a positive poetry, a different angle of vision, and yet that very poetry of difference reinforces the social attitudes. Each time the myths of bastardy are reworked and recomposed, they are given new power. The proliferation of self, exploited to the full in the para-autobiographical Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs, is echoed in a proliferation of discourses, a heteroglossia which stresses not only the polysemy of the text but the narrator’s capacity for self-creation. The transformation of the name to a signature is a rebirth, but a legitimate birth, whose certificate is the text and its authorial imprint.