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Jean Cocteau

Alan Dixon, 19 November 1992

... track shorts with shammy-leather internal arse patch designed and executed by mother, I once saw Jean Cocteau. Something was going on in a bank, or a place like that on the Riviera – I think it was Menton. We were inquisitive and looked through a narrow opening, and there he was, saying something to his muralist about shapes on the ceiling. Were they ...


Anne Stillman: Jean Cocteau, 13 July 2017

Jean CocteauA Life 
by Claude Arnaud, translated by Lauren Elkin and Charlotte Mandell.
Yale, 1024 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 0 300 17057 3
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... Jean Cocteau​ had a genius for being seen. As an elegant young man, with the cult poet Anna de Noailles on his arm, thanks to an introduction from Proust, he danced the polka at the Bastille Day ball in 1912, careful, first, to alert the photographers. ‘If I were to take a picture of a village wedding,’ a photographer once remarked, ‘Jean Cocteau would appear between the bride and groom ...

Lurching up to bed with the champion of Cubism

Nicholas Penny: Douglas Cooper, 20 January 2000

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Picasso, Provence and Douglas Cooper 
by John Richardson.
Cape, 320 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 224 05056 7
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... the Comtesse de Chevigné (3), the Duchesse de Guermantes (4), the Marquis de Sade (5), Jean Cocteau (6), the Vicomte de Noailles (7), an anonymous gym instructor (8), Igor Markevitch (9), Diaghilev (10), Nijinsky (11), Maurice Gendron (12): I was the daughter of 2, an immensely rich Belgian banker, and the granddaughter of 3, who was said to ...


Philip Booth, 30 December 1982

Stravinsky Seen and Heard 
by Hans Keller and Milein Cosman.
Toccata Press, 127 pp., £5.95, March 1982, 0 907689 01 9
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Nadia Boulanger: A Life in Music 
by Léonie Rosenstiel.
Norton, 427 pp., £16.95, October 1982, 0 393 01495 9
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... attitude is all the more noticeable for its juxtaposition here with the crisp, refined figure of Jean Cocteau, a contrast which justifies Cocteau’s inclusion amongst the sketches far more compellingly than Cosman’s practical explanation that he was involved in a performance of Oedipus Rex. There is one eloquent ...

Bon Viveur in Cuban Heels

Julian Bell: Picasso, 3 January 2008

A Life of Picasso. Vol. III: The Triumphant Years 1917-32 
by John Richardson.
Cape, 592 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 224 03121 9
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... is checking into a grand hotel in Rome along with his new friend, the foppish, snobbish young Jean Cocteau. They are collaborating on Parade, a Ballets Russes production with a decor meant to ‘reassure the public that far from being pro-German or pro-Bolshevik or a fumiste, Picasso was not an iconoclast, as chauvinist philistines had maintained ...


Michael Wood, 17 December 1992

The Art of Cinema 
by Jean Cocteau, André Bernard and Claude Gauteur, translated by Robin Buss.
Marion Boyars, 224 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 7145 2947 8
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Jean Renoir: A Life in Pictures 
by Célia Bertin, translated by Mireille Muellner and Leonard Muellner.
Johns Hopkins, 403 pp., £20.50, August 1991, 0 8018 4184 4
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Jean Renoir: Projections of Paradise 
by Ronald Bergan.
Bloomsbury, 378 pp., £25, October 1992, 0 7475 0837 2
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Malle on Malle 
edited by Philip French.
Faber, 236 pp., £14.99, January 1993, 0 571 16237 1
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Republic of Images: A History of French Film-Making 
by Alan Williams.
Harvard, 458 pp., £39.95, April 1992, 0 674 76267 3
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... played by Pierre Fresnay, creates a diversion to cover the escape of the other two, played by Jean Gabin and Marcel Dalio, working-class and Jewish respectively. It all sounds rather stark and allegorical in description, and Communist viewers in the Thirties were keen to see this arrangement as sounding the knell of the old order. Fresnay has earlier ...

Very like Poole Harbour

Patricia Beer, 5 December 1991

With and Without Buttons 
by Mary Butts, edited by Nathalie Blondel.
Carcanet, 216 pp., £13.95, October 1991, 0 85635 944 0
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... friends, lovers and associates during these two decades is impressive. Man Ray photographed her, Jean Cocteau sketched her, Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot praised her work, Aleister Crowley exploited it. In the Twenties Harold Acton came across her in Paris, not exactly among ‘the bevies of truculent women’ who surrounded Hemingway and Ford Madox Ford ...

Who, me?

Philip Purser, 3 December 1992

The Sieve of Time: Memoirs 
by Leni Riefenstahl.
Quartet, 669 pp., £30, September 1992, 0 7043 7021 2
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... added underwater photography to her portfolio. She has never been short of professional admirers. Jean Cocteau and John Grierson are fulsome in their praise. Mick Jagger tells her he has seen some of her films 15 times. Nor, of course, does she lack detractors; the fiercest in recent years has been Susan Sontag, who traced a line of Fascist exaltation ...

Earthworm on Zither

Paul Grimstad: Raymond Roussel, 26 April 2012

Impressions of Africa 
by Raymond Roussel, translated by Mark Polizzotti.
Dalkey, 280 pp., £10.99, June 2011, 978 1 56478 624 1
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New Impressions of Africa 
by Raymond Roussel, translated by Mark Ford.
Princeton, 264 pp., £16.95, April 2011, 978 0 691 14459 7
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... was found dead on the floor of a Palermo hotel room from an overdose of the barbiturate Soneryl. Jean Cocteau, who got to know him a few years earlier in a rehab clinic at Saint-Cloud (and who remembered Roussel asking him wearily: ‘Why aren’t I as famous as Pierre Loti?’), wrote Roussel’s obituary for La Nouvelle Revue Française, saying that ...

E Bada!

Rye Dag Holmboe: What Isou Did to Language, 21 July 2022

Speaking East: The Strange and Enchanted Life of Isidore Isou 
by Andrew Hussey.
Reaktion, 328 pp., £20, September 2021, 978 1 78914 492 5
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... Elvis Presley – as well as boundless self-confidence. He also had a letter of introduction to Jean Paulhan, a former director of the Nouvelle Revue française, published by Gallimard. Isou went straight to its offices. Paulhan wasn’t there, but Gaston Gallimard was. Isou announced that the most important literary journalist in Romania had arrived and ...

Cold Shoulders, Short Trousers

Ian Hamilton, 12 March 1992

Will this do? 
by Auberon Waugh.
Century, 288 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7126 3734 6
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Mr Wu and Mrs Stitch: The Letters of Evelyn Waugh and Diana Cooper 
edited by Artemis Cooper.
Hodder, 344 pp., £19.99, October 1991, 0 340 53488 5
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... or pretending to be pro-German,’ Ingrams says. He may even have been put in a novel by Jean Cocteau, ‘as the archetype of the dashing English gentle-man’. Whatever he was, he died at the age of 53, and Ingrams ‘has just passed that age himself’. It has been observed that when a son gets to be older than his dead father ever ...

I want to be her clothes

Kevin Kopelson: Kate Moss, 20 December 2012

Kate: The Kate Moss Book 
by Kate Moss, edited by Fabien Baron, Jess Hallett and Jefferson Hack.
Rizzoli, 368 pp., £50, November 2012, 978 0 8478 3790 8
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... guessing.’ (‘The more visible they make me,’ Moss has said, ‘the less visible I become.’ Jean Cocteau said it first.) Stella Vine, an artist who painted Moss both post-partum and wearing some clothes, has also compared them. There’s ‘bravery’, Vine says, ‘in Kate’s eyes’ – just as in those of Mona Lisa – ‘and I love her for ...

Champion of Words

John Sturrock, 15 October 1987

Death and the Labyrinth: The World of Raymond Roussel 
by Michel Foucault, translated by Charles Ruas.
Athlone, 186 pp., £29.50, April 1987, 0 485 11336 8
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Raymond Roussel: Life, Death and Works. Essays and stories by various hands 
Atlas, 157 pp., £5.50, September 1987, 0 947757 14 7Show More
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... continued in these years to be treated by doctors. In 1928, he was in the same maison de santé as Jean Cocteau, then being got off opium. Cocteau noticed, as others had, how like Proust Roussel was – in voice, in physique and in nervousness. Roussel, on the other hand, spoilt the comparison by asking ...

You see stars

Michael Wood, 19 June 1997

The House of Sleep 
by Jonathan Coe.
Viking, 384 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 670 86458 7
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... comedies, old detective stories, old chatty novels, stage farces – not everyone would connect Jean Cocteau with Sid James and Kenneth Connor. But it is above all a novel of the Thatcher years, satirically seen as the reign of a particular mentality, easily identified, but not so easily defined. Coe portrays it through six grotesques, members of a ...

What’s the story?

Audrey Gillan: Trying to find the evidence for mass atrocities in Kosovo, 27 May 1999

... this aspect to which a friend drew my attention when I got home. Nobody much wants to return to Jean Cocteau, but there was something soothing in the words my friend quoted. ‘History is a combination of reality and lies,’ he said. ‘The reality of history becomes a lie. The reality of the fable becomes the ...

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