Jean Cocteau

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

Jean Cocteau Quotes

  • ''Tact in audacity consists in knowing how far we may go too far.''
    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).
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  • ''The extreme limit of wisdom—that's what the public calls madness.''
    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).
  • ''There are truths which one can only say after having won the right to say them.''
    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).
  • ''One must be a living man and a posthumous artist.''
    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).
  • ''Art is science made clear.''
    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).
  • ''True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. repr. In Collected Works, vol. 10 (1950). Le Mystère Laïc (1928).
  • ''What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. repr. In Collected Works, vol. 9 (1950). Le Rappel à L'Ordre, "Le Coq et l'Arlequin" (1926).
  • ''Take a commonplace, clean it and polish it, light it so that it produces the same effect of youth and freshness and originality and spontaneity as it did originally, and you have done a poet's job. The rest is literature.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. repr. In Collected Works, vol. 9 (1950). "Le Secret Professionnel," Le Rappel à l'Ordre (1926, 1922).
  • ''Such is the role of poetry. It unveils, in the strict sense of the word. It lays bare, under a light which shakes off torpor, the surprising things which surround us and which our senses record mechanically.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. repr. In Collected Works, vol. 9 (1950). "Le Secret Professionnel," Le Rappel à l'Ordre (1926).
  • ''Wealth is an inborn attitude of mind, like poverty. The pauper who has made his pile may flaunt his spoils, but cannot wear them plausibly.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. Les Enfants Terribles, trans. by Rosamond Lehmann (1929).

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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)

Awakening

Grave mouths of lions
Sinuous smiling of young crocodiles
Along the river's water conveying millions
Isles of spice
How lovely he is, the son
Of the widowed queen
And the sailor
The handsome sailor abandons a siren,
Her widow's lament at the south of the islet

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