Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau (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).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Jean Cocteau: Selected full-text books and articles

Jean Cocteau: A Biography
Margaret Crosland.
Alfred A. Knopf, 1956
Age of Surrealism
Wallace Fowlie.
Swallow Press, 1950
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VII "Cocteau: The Theatre"
20th Century French Drama
David I. Grossvogel.
Columbia University Press, 1961
Librarian’s tip: "Cocteau" begins on p. 47
Dionysus in Paris: A Guide to Contemporary French Theater
Wallace Fowlie.
Meridian Books, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Cocteau"
The Contemporary French Theatre: The Flight from Naturalism
Joseph Chiari.
Camelot Press, 1958
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Language and Myth in Modern French Poetic Drama: Jean Cocteau"
Staging the Impossible: The Fantastic Mode in Modern Drama
Patrick D. Murphy.
Greenwood Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Ambiguity and the Supernatural in Cocteau's La Machine Infernale"
Visions of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Fifteenth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts
Allienne R. Becker.
Greenwood Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 20 "Shape-Shifting, Vampires, and the Oedipus Myth: Jean Cocteau's The Infernal Machine"
Film and the Critical Eye
Dennis DeNitto; William Herman.
Macmillan, 1975
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Beauty and the Beast: Directed by Jean Cocteau"
Fixing the Gaze: Jean Cocteau's la Belle et la Bete
Sheaffer-Jones, Caroline.
The Romanic Review, Vol. 93, No. 3, May 2002
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
'La Belle et la Bete': What Cocteau's Film Fable Tells Us about Society, Politics, Gender and Sexual Identity in Post-War France
Hayward, Susan.
History Today, Vol. 46, No. 7, July 1996
Gender and French Cinema
Alex Hughes; James S. Williams.
Berg, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "For Our Eyes Only: Body and Sexuality in Reverse Motion in the Films of Jean Cocteau"
Imps of the Perverse: Gay Monsters in Film
Michael William Saunders.
Praeger Publishers, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Jean Cocteau, Kenneth Anger, and Jean Genet"
Satie the Bohemian: From Cabaret to Concert Hall
Steven Moore Whiting.
Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 14 "Autour de Cocteau, or the Uses of Popular Music"
The Forged Feature: Toward a Poetics of Uncertainty: New and Selected Essays
Ben Belitt.
Fordham University Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: "Jean Cocteau: A Dog, a Cab, a House" begins on p. 211
A Guide to Contemporary French Literature: From Valery to Sartre
Wallace Fowlie.
Meridian Books, 1957
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