Jean Cocteau

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

Quotations

  • ''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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  • ''What is line? It is life. A line must live at each point along its course in such a way that the artist's presence makes itself felt above that of the model.... With the writer, line takes precedence over form and content. It runs through the words he assembles. It strikes a continuous note unperceived by ear or eye. It is, in a way, the soul's style, and if the line ceases to have a life of its own, if it only describes an arabesque, the soul is missing and the writing dies.''
    Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author, filmmaker. "De la Ligne," The Difficulty of Being (1947).
  • ''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).

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Soft Caramel

Take a young girl.
Fill her with ice and gin
shake it all up to make it androgynous
And return her to her family
Hello, hello, operator don't cut me off
Ah! how sad it is to be the king of animals,
Nobody says a word
Oh! Love is the worst of evils
Take a young girl,

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