La difficulté d'être by Jean Cocteau

By Jean Cocteau

The Contextual lifestyles evaluation quote:

Jean Cocteau, who died on the age of seventy four in 1963, was once a guy of many talents—a poet, a novelist, a filmmaker, and an artist. He wrote the libretto for Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex and was once most sensible identified for his 1929 novel Les Enfants Terribles and the 1946 movie version good looks and the Beast. After his demise, in 1965, he was once named the Honorary President of the Cannes movie Festival.

I as soon as learn that if you’re in a rut, inventive or another way, you need to learn a biography of somebody who did good stuff. Benjamin Franklin involves brain, as does any social circulate chief, but if I observed the trouble of Being, Cocteau’s selection of biographical essays—written in 1947— i used to be curious to grasp what this polymath had thought of lifestyles. As I thumbed during the replica within the book place, i spotted that the bankruptcy headings learn like Montaigne: “On conversation,” “On my style,” “On friendship,” “On death,” and “On beauty” are only a few.

In his advent to Melville House’s Neversink Library version, Geoffrey O’Brien, a critic and the Editor-in-Chief of the Library of the US, notes that the e-book is written in “a temper of indifferent self-examination” and that Cocteau “makes himself his personal portraitist … made up our minds to see a few uncomplicated definitions.” He is going directly to say, “It is such a lot essentially a piece of feedback, during which by way of paying shut awareness to his personal writing strategy he creates a distinct type of writing, opaque and deliberate.”

From my very own interpreting, i discovered a poignancy in lots of of the questions Cocteau seeks to reply to and the observations he places at the web page. here's a very small choice of what's a good read—whether you decide to head from conceal to hide or open at will.

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Celle, sans doute, de ceux qui les imitent et perdent leurs pri­ vilèges pour un monde qui n’existe que par la certitude que les privilèges sont ail­ leurs et qu’on n’en possède aucun. J ’ai chez moi une lettre de Musset écrite à l’époque la plus riche en génie. Il se plaint qu’il n’y ait pas un artiste, pas un LA DIFFICULTÉ D’ÊTRE livre, pas un peintre, pas une pièce. La Comédie-Française, dit-il, croule sous la poussière et Madame Malibran chante à Londres parce que l’Opéra chante faux. Chaque époque de la France est ainsi faite que, le nez sur sa richesse, elle n’y voit rien et en cherche une ailleurs.

Il tirait de ses poches les petites feuilles de cahier d’écolier qu’il y enfonçait en boule. Il les déchiffonnait du plat de la main et, gêné par une des cigarettes qu’il roulait luimême, essayait de lire un poème très court. Il le collait contre son œil. Ces poèmes ne ressemblaient à aucun de l’époque dont je vous parle. Ils contre­ disaient plutôt l’époque et ne s’appuyaient sur rien d’avant. Dirai-je, au passage, que ce tact suprême, cette solitude des mots, LA DIFFICULTÉ D’ÊTRE cette épaisseur du vide, cette aération de l’ensemble, nul ne s’en est encore avisé en France et que les nombreux pastiches qu’on tâche d’en vendre n’en présentent même pas une caricature ?

Je m’interrogeai. Je m’insultai. Je me consumai de refus. Je ne conservai de moi que les cendres. Vint la guerre. Elle me trouva donc apte à éviter ses pièges, à juger ce qu’elle ap­ porte, ce qu’elle emporte, et comment elle nous débarrasse de la sottise, occupée ailleurs. J ’eus la chance d’y vivre auprès des Fusiliers marins. Il régnait chez eux une liberté d’esprit incroyable. Je l’ai dé­ crite dans le Discours du Grand Sommeil et dans Thomas l'imposteur. Je le répète, à Paris, la place était libre.

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