Jean Cocteau

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Related to Jean Cocteau: Gertrude Stein
Jean Cocteau
Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau
BirthplaceMaisons-Laffitte, France
Novelist, poet, artist, filmmaker

Cocteau, Jean

(zhäN kôktō`), 1889–1963, French writer, visual artist, and filmmaker. He experimented audaciously in almost every artistic medium, becoming a leader of the French avant-garde in the 1920s. His first great success was the novel Les Enfants Terribles (1929), which he made into a film in 1950. Surrealistic fantasy suffuses his films and many of his novels and plays. Among his best dramatic works are Orphée (1926) and La Machine infernale (1934, tr. 1936), in which the Orpheus and Oedipus myths are surrealistically adapted to modern circumstances. His films include The Blood of a Poet (1933), Beauty and the Beast (1946), and Orphée (1949). Among other works are ballets, sketches, monologues, whimsical drawings, and the text (written with Stravinsky) for the opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex (1927).


See his autobiography; comp. from his writings by R. Phelps (tr. 1970); biographies by F. Brown (1968), E. Sprigge and J.-J. Kihm (1968), and F. Steegmuller (1970); M. Crosland, ed., Cocteau's World (tr. 1972).

Cocteau, Jean


Born July 5, 1889, at Maisons Laffitte, Seine et Oise; died Oct. 11, 1963, at Milly-la-Forét, Seine et Oise. French writer and screenwriter. Member of the Académie Fran-çaise (1955).

Cocteau began as a symbolist poet. His output during World War I (1914–18) and the postwar period displayed cubist-futurist and dadaist traits (the collection Poems, 1920). Cocteau’s later poetry developed from the “neoclassicism” of the narrative poem Plain Chant (1923) to the surrealism of the collection Opera (1927). His best-known novels include Thomas the Impostor (1923; Russian translation, 1925) and Les Enfants terribles (1929). Cocteau adapted classical and Shakespearean tragedies in an attempt to update them. His other plays include the psychological monodrama The Human Voice (1930; Russian translation, 1971) and Intimate Relations (1938). In the 1930’s, Cocteau became a screenwriter and director (the films Orphée, 1950; Blood of a Poet; and Le Testament d’Orphée, 1960).


Oeuvres complétes, vols. 1–11. Lausanne, 1947–51.
Lannes, R. Jean Cocteau; une étude. Poems and bibliography selected by H. Parisot and P. Seghers. New revised edition. [Paris, 1964.]
Cahiers [1–2. Paris, 1969–71].
In Russian translation:
“Proza i stikhi.” Sovremennyi Zapad, 1923, book 4. (See A. Efros, “Tri silueta [Apolliner, Sandrar, Kokto]”.)
“Trudnye roditeli.” In the collection P’esy sovremennoi Frantsii. Moscow, 1960.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 4. Moscow, 1963.
Kihm, J.-J. Cocteau. Paris, 1960.
Brosse, J. Cocteau. [Paris, 1970.] (Bibliography.)
Steegmuller, F. Cocteau. [London, 1970.] (Bibliography.)
Chanel, P. Album Cocteau. [Paris, 1970.]


References in periodicals archive ?
13) Jean Cocteau engaged with the Orpheus myth in three films and a play: Orphee (1926), (14) Le Sang d'un porte (1930), Orphee (1950) (15) and Le Testament d'Orphee (1960).
Part 2, Collaboration des poetes et des musiciens, devotes chapters to Paul Claudel, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Jean Cocteau (in that order).
JEAN COCTEAU (1889-1963) WAS AMONG THE most versatile, talented, and prolific figures in twentieth-century French arts and letters--yet one of the most enigmatic.
RENE CHAR, Andre Frenaud, Andre du Bouchet, Jean Cocteau, Tristan Tzara, Andre Breton, Yves Bonnefoy, Bernard Noel, Saint-John Perse, Pierre Reverdy, Paul Eluard, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, Miro, Bellmer, Ubac, Picasso, Tal Coat, Ernst, Fautrier, Giacometti, Vieira da Silva, Tapies, Alechinsky, Chagall, Buren, Leger, Dubuffet: the list of great poets and artists with whom, directly or indirectly, Monique Mathieu has collaborated over the past forty years is breathtakingly extensive.
A Pen of Light: The Films of Jean Cocteau," conference, Hofstra University, in Hempstead, NY.
The composer collaborated with his friend Jean Cocteau to produce a symphonic ballet.
Jean Cocteau was riding in the elevator up to Pablo Picasso's apartment when the angel Heurtebise appeared to him.
How can you resist a ballet inspired by Jean Cocteau, whose curtain, costumes and decor were originally designed by Picasso and originally performed by Dyagilev's Ballet russes, with choreography by Massin, all of it accompanied by the sounds of gunshots, sirens, and a typewriter
Huene, who was born a Russian baron and left his country soon after the Bolshevik Revolution, traveled in a ratified circle that included Coco Chanel, Greta Garbo, Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, Cecil Beaton, Marlene Dietrich, and Kurt Weill.
Emulating Paul Gauguin and Paul Cezanne, artists turned to the evolving avant-garde movement, and the list of those it produced is overwhelming: Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Jacques Lipchitz, Henri Rousseau, Franco Modigliani, Jean Cocteau, Man Ray, Alberto Giacometti, and dozens of others cross the screen.
Design elements recall elegant 1940's travel, with artwork that includes playful murals inspired by French artist Jean Cocteau and a 13-foot seascape mural inspired by the 1880 painting, "King Neptune and His Horses.
Elle is the only character in the one-act opera La Voix Humaine, written by French composer Francis Poulenc in 1959 and based on a play by Jean Cocteau.