Jean Cocteau

(5 July 1889 – 11 October 1963 / Maisons-Laffitte, Yvelines)

Jean Cocteau Quotes

  • ''Mystery has its own mysteries, and there are gods above gods. We have ours, they have theirs. That is what's known as infinity.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. repr. In Collected Works, vol. 5 (1948). Anubis, in The Infernal Machine, act 2 (1932).
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  • ''Poets don't draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. Dessins (1924), quoted in Pierre Chanel, "A Thousand Flashes of Genius," Jean Cocteau and the French Scene (1984).
  • ''One of the characteristics of the dream is that nothing surprises us in it. With no regret, we agree to live in it with strangers, completely cut off from our habits and friends.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. "Du Rêve," La Difficulté d'Etre (1947).
  • ''A film is a petrified fountain of thought.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. Esquire (New York, Feb. 1961).
  • ''When a work appears to be ahead of its time, it is only the time that is behind the work.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. (Originally published 1918). Le Coq et l'Arlequin, Le Rappel à L'Ordre (1926), repr. In Collected Works, vol. 9 (1950).
  • ''If it has to choose who is to be crucified, the crowd will always save Barabbas.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. (Essay originally published 1918). Le Coq et l'Arlequin, Le Rappel à L'Ordre (1926), repr. In Collected Works, vol. 9 (1950). Barabbas was the thief and insurrectionary leader reprieved at Christ's crucifixion, following the custom at Passover. (Matthew 27).
  • ''All good music resembles something. Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. repr. In Collected Works, vol. 9 (1950). "Le Coq et l'Arlequin," Le Rappel à L'Ordre (1926).
  • ''An original artist is unable to copy. So he has only to copy in order to be original.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. repr. In Collected Works, vol. 9 (1950). "Le Coq et l'Arlequin," Le Rappel à L'Ordre (1926).
  • ''The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. (Originally published 1918). Le Coq et l'Arlequin, Le Rappel à L'Ordre (1926), repr. In Collected Works, vol. 9 (1950).
  • ''In Paris, everybody wants to be an actor; nobody is content to be a spectator.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. repr. In Collected Works, vol. 9 (1950). "Le Coq et l'Arlequin," Le Rappel à L'Ordre (1926).

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Best Poem of Jean Cocteau

Preamble (A Rough Draft For An Ars Poetica)

...Preamble

A rough draft
for an ars poetica

. . . . . . .

Let's get our dreams unstuck

The grain of rye
free from the prattle of grass
et loin de arbres orateurs

I

plant

it

It will sprout


But forget about
the rustic festivities

For the explosive word
falls harmlessly
eternal through
the compact generations

and except for you

nothing
denotates

its sweet-scented dynamite

Greetings
I discard eloquence
the empty ...

Read the full of Preamble (A Rough Draft For An Ars Poetica)

Toreador

Pepita queen of Venice
When you go beneath your shutter
All gondoliers call out:
Watch out--Toreador!
No one rules your heart
In the grand palace where you sleep
And near you the old duenna lies in waiting
for the Toreador.
Toreador, bravest of the brave

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