Talk:Jean Cocteau

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Improving Comment and links[edit]

I would like to know if it is fine to have videoartworld as an external link for this page. On his article there is a nice focus on the orpheus trilogy and a rich media content...I am an teacher and art critic collaborating with (for free). Videoartworld is a non profit site, having only banners of non profit entities (Green Peace, WWF, British Art Council...). As i i am writing for them, it looks like there is a conflict of interest according to Wikipedia Guidelines. One moderator deleted every links thinking at first i might be a spammer. Which mean i need to 1st talk with people on the discussion page. please do not hesitate to give me advices as i am quite new in wikipedia, but as an Art lover and Cinema teacher, i would love to be more involved....

PS: in Videoartworld, more than 40 critics from every continents are collaborating to give high levels of critics (we all do it for free, no business at all, no spam. To keep this Art alive....) I hope it will be appreciated by all the people working on Cinema, "art et essais," Experimental video art..... If you have advices as well about adding new contemporary artists, please tell it to me.... Thanks a lot for your answers and your advices. Jjcolmax 11:19, 21 September 2007 (UTC).


"As a leading member of the surrealist movement, he had great influence on the work of others": this is a flat-out lie! Cocteau was never a member of the surrealist movement and the surrealists repeatedly expressed their contempt for him! --Daniel C. Boyer

Um, actually he was great friends with people like Dali and Elsa Schiaparelli, both very active in the surrealist movement...
Have you seen his first film, the blood of a poet? --concerned art patron —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:09, January 28, 2005 (UTC)
I have changed the expression 'leader of the surrealist movement' to important exponent of surrealism.
I've seen blood of a poet and yes I think there is a surrealist sensibility and aesthetic... So i would say that Cocteau is without a doubt a surrealist artist. But I have a problem with the expression "surrealist movement" which to me refers to the social/artistic group which revolved around Breton, with people like Elouard and Aragon and many others (from which Dali was notoriously expelled) which held -apart from a certain aesthetic- an emphasis on political/social commentary as expressed in Breton's manifestos. There is a section in Luis Bunuel's autobiography (Mi Ultimo Suspiro) where he comments the internal functioning of the group and he makes a precise distinction between a surrealist aesthetic (which -he said- had transcended onto the rest of the arts) and the surrealist movement (which -he said- intended primarily to transform the world, not the arts. He states regretfully that the movement failed).
(Luis Buñuel. Mi Último Suspiro. Ed. Debolsillo. 2003. pp. 115-143, esp. 139-140.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:35, December 9, 2005 (UTC)
While Cocteau was friends with many in the Surrealist movement, he was not himself a proponent of it. In fact, he was known for his resistance to it. He refused to be held down by the rules of the movement. A closer look would suggest that while he might be a "participant" in the movement, he was not a "proponent."
Mysticfeline 23:28, 6 February 2006 (UTC)Mysticfeline
In addition, its widely noted in academic studies that the surrealists themselves disregarded Cocteau's work, because of his bourgois connections. See Rosemont, Franklin (ed)., What Is Surrealism? (Pathfinder: New York) 1978, 2002 -Book One p62 etc.
Cocteau himself might have used Surrealist techniques and lauded the likes of Bunuel, but cannot be credited as a member of the surealist movement proper.
Prof Nebulous 19:48, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

"The word Surrealism was coined, in fact, by Guillaume Apollinaire to describe Parade, a work which was initially not well-received."

As this is not generally thought of as the origin of the term, I suggest that the following citation be added to provide further proof:

While not noted here, the more common history offered is that Apollinaire's play Les mamelles de Tiresias (indeed the french language wiki stub for Apollinaire's play as well as my college profs agree on this) is the first usage of the term, in the form "surrealiste." The above New York Times article provides sufficient proof that the word was used for the first time in reference to Parade, something a lot of people wouldn't agree with (I didn't until I read the NY Times article above). Tropbavard 16:14, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Removing the references to Raymond Radiguet and Marie-Laure de Noailles[edit]

I am removing this because there is no evidence that Cocteau and Radiguet had a sexual relationship. In his "Portrait Souvenir de Jean Cocteau" (ed. Tallandier 1989 pp 60-68), Roger Stéphane transcribes an interview given at the French Radio by Jean Cocteau in 1963 (six months before his death) where he discusses his relationship with Radiguet, who spent most of his evenings either at the appartment of Juan Gris or at the appartment of Max Jacob, where he usually slept either on the floor or on the kitchen table. Cocteau also mentions Radiguet's girlfriend who later married the French film maker Réné Clair. Cocteau does not suggest that he was interested in anything other than Radiguet's talent as a writer. And is one trip to Arcachon with Auric and Mr and Mrs Valentin Hugo and a few nights at La Boeuf sur le Toit during a period of about two years really that important? Cocteau seemed to think that it was worth two pages out of one hundred and thirty in this book.....

I have also removed the following statement: "To Cocteau's distress and Paley's life-long regret, the fetus was aborted due to the intervention of Marie-Laure de Noailles, the eccentric arts patron who had loved Cocteau as a young woman and was determined to ruin his new romance." What is the source of this material? I have read quite a bit about Madame de Noailles and know people who knew her. I have never heard of this, other than Madame de Noailles friendship with Cocteau. Please provide a source! Musikfabrik 08:55, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

I Don't Think So[edit]

could somebody explain why the passage "Self-proclaimed Surrealism leader André Breton, nonetheless, declared Cocteau a "notorious false poet, a versifier who happens to debase rather than to elevate everything he touches" (Breton, 1953)" appears in the EARLY LIFE section for jean cocteau?

the passage isn't only irrelevant, it's contradictory: a 1953 quote for the "early years" of a man born in 1889. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:06, June 21, 2006 (UTC)

About the article[edit]

It looks like an yellow press article but not encyclopedic one. It deals more with who he slept with than with his artistic activities. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lucius S (talkcontribs) 11:19, June 24, 2006

Was he a supporter of Franco during the Spanish Civil war?[edit]

Orwell accuses him of being one in his essay,"Looking back at the Spanish Civil war". —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mallu78 (talkcontribs) 08:06, July 26, 2006

Priory of Sion[edit]

Dont we need to mention Priory of Sion and Coctrau's alleged relationship with this institution here??? What say??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:14, September 3, 2006 (UTC)

is there any inconclusive evidence involving the hoax of the priory of sion, is it just a hoex? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:25, October 31, 2006 (UTC)
It is 100%, unambiguously, a hoax. Some guy made it up to justify his bogus claim to the throne of France.
By the way, I don't really know the formatting, or I'd fix it myself, but shouldn't the bulk of the article be removed from the table? It's been that way for months and is plainly a mistake. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Volfied (talkcontribs) 19:11, December 15, 2006
Other alleged famous grand masters of the order in recent years, apart from Cocteau are Victor Hugo and Claude Debussy. Leonardo da Vinci and Isaac Newton were earlier famous grand master. All this according to the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail. __meco 16:44, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Radiguet redux[edit]

The material below was deleted from Historical pederastic relationships by an editor who found it too long for that article. However, it would be a pity to have the material go to waste, as it is well sourced. Any objections if I integrate into the section on the friendship between the two? Haiduc 01:46, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Cocteau met the young poet in 1918 at 29, when the boy was 15 years old. The two collaborated extensively, socialized, and undertook many journeys and vacations together. Cocteau got the youth exempted from military service and exerted his influence to garner the "Nouveau Monde" literary prize for Radiguet's novel, Le Diable au Corps. Some sources suggest that their friendship was loving and sexual.[1][2] Their relationship has been placed in the context of "a series of younger lovers and collaborators". [1] An anecdote told by Ernest Hemingway has an enraged Cocteau charging Radiguet (known in the Parisian literary circles as "Monsieur Bébé") with decadence for his tryst with a model: "Bébé est vicieuse. Il aime les femmes." ("Baby is depraved. He likes women." [Note the use of the feminine adjective]). Radiguet, Hemingway implies, employed his sexuality to advance his career, being a writer "who knew how to make his career not only with his pen but with his pencil," a salacious and phallic allusion.[3][4] Cocteau however was guarded in his discussion of his relationships: "Cocteau never put his name to an openly, unashamedly homosexual text and invariably alluded to his male lovers - the most celebrated being the precocious novelist Raymond Radiguet and the actors Jean Marais and Edouard Dermit - as his 'adopted sons' (in the case of Dermit, even formally adopting him)".[5] In 1919 Radiguet's father discovered a "compromising correspondence" between Cocteau and his son, giving rise to an exchange of letters in November of that year between the two adults in which Cocteau compared the youth to Rimbaud. In mid-March 1921 he hastened from Paris to join Radiguet (among others, including Georges Auric and Monsieur et Madame Hugo Valentin), who had left alone for Carqueiranne. On the 30th of the same month he replied to his mother, who had commented on this voyage: "Have you not yet understood that my life is spent releasing my instincts, watching them, sorting them once they are out, and forging them to my advantage?" After Radiguet's death (of typhoid fever), Cocteau did not attend the funeral. However, in this version of the story, Cocteau takes to his bed prostrated with grief (see below to see what happened according to Cocteau)[6] After the death of Radiguet, Cocteau began to use opium, to which he became addicted. The people who wish to say that Cocteau and Radiguet had a relationship say that this was the direct result of Radiguet's death, but this reading of the story is contradicted by Cocteau himself (see below)[2]
Others contest this interpretation, claiming that it has not been confirmed in any correspondence or writings by Cocteau or those close to both of them, and that Radiguet had any number of well-documented liaisons with women and generally spent his nights alone at the apparments of Max Jacob and Juan Gris, sleeping on the kitchen table or the floor. Cocteau, speaking about Radiguet in a transcription of a television interview made three months before Cocteau's death claimed that he did not particularly care for Radiguet personally and only respected his talent as a writer. Upon Radiguet's death, which was due to typhoid fever complicated by heavy drinking, Cocteau was, in his own words, "paralyzed with stupor and disgust". He did not attend the funeral -- Cocteau did not attend anyone's funeral, as a rule -- but instead immediately left Paris with Sergei Diaghilev for Monte Carlo for a performance of Les Fâcheux by Auric and Les Biches by Poulenc. While Cocteau began to smoke opium after Radiguet's death, to which he became addicted, he himself said that this was pure coincidence and had nothing to do with Radiguet's death. [7]

  1. ^ François Bott, Radiguet, Flammarion, 1995;
  2. ^ Michel Larivière, Homosexuels et bisexuels célèbres, Delétraz, 1997
  3. ^ Thurston, Michael: "Genre, Gender, and Truth in Death in the Afternoon," The Hemingway Review, Spring 1998
  4. ^ Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon, p.71
  5. ^ Gilbert Adair, "Comfortable in hell, The Back Half" in The New Statesman, Monday 23rd February 2004
  6. ^ Touzot, Jean. Jean Cocteau. Lyon: La Manufacture, 1989
  7. ^ Roger Stéphane "Portrait Souvenir de Jean Cocteau" Tallandier 1989

I think the summary you ended up putting in the article is both inaccurate, cherry picks its sources, and misrepresents the source you did choose to quote. If you are going to follow this thread, I think you should try "writing" for the other side, in order to counterbalance your natural tendency to see what you are looking for. Nandesuka (talk) 11:01, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

The man said black on white that their romantic relationship failed. That sounds pretty plain to me. The article also mentions that Cocteau was "devastated" by Radiguet's death.
I was amused by your inclusion of Cocteau's letter to Radiguet's father. Did he not compare the son to Rimbaud? I am sure you are not insensitive to that implication. I will have to look it up. Haiduc (talk) 11:31, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I find it tragic that your world is so small that you imagine the only reason one man might be devastated by a beloved friend's death is if there was erotic regard between them. That you believe such a statement is proof of sexual desire speaks volumes about your inability to maintain a neutral point of view on this topic. Nandesuka (talk) 11:38, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Are you really an administrator here?! Is this what administrators are supposed to be doing, denigrating the world view of contributors? Or putting words in my mouth? Who keeps you people in check, anyway? Haiduc (talk) 11:46, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
On this article, I am acting as an editor, and I'm perfectly happy to take issue with the opinions of others when they are negatively impacting our articles as, in this case, I believe yours are. If you are unhappy with my characterization of your views, I encourage you to seek input from other editors, or perhaps open a request for comment. Nandesuka (talk) 12:00, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately you cannot change skins as easily as all that. Please do not project your ideas of me upon me, and restrict yourself to the topic at hand. Let's talk about Cocteau and Radiguet, they are much more interesting people than you or I. Haiduc (talk) 12:03, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
When an editor presents the extraordinary thesis that a man being "devastated" at the death of his beloved friend is proof positive of sexual regard of that friend, that editor has made himself the topic at hand. If this is the lens through which you read sources, then I think other editors are going to have to fact-check your work much more extensively, because it casts doubt on every summary you have written on this topic. Nandesuka (talk) 12:08, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Your incessant insistence that "'a man being "devastated' at the death of his beloved friend is proof positive of sexual regard of that friend" originates with me is aberrant. It originates with you. It is an example of the defamatory style of debate that seems to be your stock in trade.
The article in the GLR counters two assertions of the anti-relationship proponents. It counters the assertion that their friendship was not romantic by calling it romantic (albeit failed). And it counters the psychologically implausible claim that Cocteau did not give a damn about Radiguet's death and went off to the ballet instead.
Next time you think I said something as mind-numbingly stupid as what you claimed I said, check with me first. I suggest that you apologize and go around retracting your absurd accusations wherever you seem to have plastered them. I must say that these administrators who have latched on to the pederasty topic, you and Brenermann and a couple of others, are behaving in a very immature and provocative fashion, and you have become a disgrace and a liability to Wikipedia. You are showing up this project as an out-of-control anarchy, and making a laughing stock of yourselves and the rest of us. Haiduc (talk) 23:42, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Your protests are noted, although I think your use of the "devastated" quote is perfectly clear, if not transparent (if you weren't talking about a relationship between Cocteau and Radiguet, then what in the Seven Hills could you possibly have been talking about?) But be that as it may, I encourage you to open a request for comments if you believe you have been ill-treated. Returning to Cocteau (remember him?) we find that mainstream reliable sources, namely the most well-researched biographies, such as Seegmuller -- which make no attempt to avoid discussing Cocteau's acknowledged homosexuality -- are unconvinced that Cocteau and Radiguet's relationship was an erotic one. Yes, there were snide insinuations at the time, as well as some fringe theories from lesser sources. Fortunately for our readers, we are forbidden to prefer fringe sources in preference to the mainstream of academic discourse by WP:UNDUE. Nandesuka (talk) 00:09, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

<undent> "My protests are noted???" I feel sorry for you, and for your concept of what healthy social relations consist of. The only thing you have working in your favor is your age, and I am sure (or I hope, for your sake) that as you mature you will blush to think of the things you said and did in your "glory days." So far you have given proof of a very rigid mind, forcing me and the source material into tight little straightjackets. But I think you are mistaken on both counts. I do not think that GLR is fringe, and I have ordered the book they reviewed. I do not know who will have the last laugh here, but I certainly hope you have not forgotten how to laugh. Haiduc (talk) 00:18, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

I look forward to all of your future speculations on and insinuations about my age, gender, sexual preferences, politics, religion, sense of humor, taste in clothes, athletic ability, attractiveness, driving ability, emotional well-being, and preferences in typefaces. I do, however, politely request that you confine such speculations to my talk page, so that at least you won't be disturbing people who are here to edit an encyclopedia. Nandesuka (talk) 00:26, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

"Astonish me"[edit]

Diaghilev did not tell Cocteau to "astonish me"; those words were given to either Stravinsky or Nijinsky. It was later written that the words "astonish me" were a source of great inspiration to Jean Cocteau. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mochsner (talkcontribs) 05:17, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

It is an integral part of the Cocteau legend that Diaghilev said to Cocteau: "Astonish me!" (There was no need for him to say this to Stravinsky or Nijinsky: they were astonishing enough!) However, I will follow up on this and see if I can locate an official quote.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:22, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Cocteau's Catholicism[edit]

Shouldn't there be some mention of Cocteau's definite conversion to Catholicism, which I just learned about by reading Art and Faith, a book of letters between Cocteau and Jacques Maritain?

Radiguet citation[edit]

The 'Richard Berrong, "Poet of the Cinema" in The Gay and Lesbian Review July/August 2008 p.32' citation turns out to be only a short review so I altered it to refer to the reviewed biography. —EqualRights (talk) 12:44, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Cocteau's politics[edit]

Wow! There seems to be quite an acrimonious debate going on here as to whether Cocteau slept with Raymond Radiguet or not. I don't really think it matters either way...

I'm interested in Cocteau's politics though. Arno Breker, the sculptor, was an official Nazi artist [see Wiki articles in English and German]. There was a big show of his work in Paris during the German occupation and Cocteau attended, giving great praise to the sculpture and the artist (to our eyes it looks like totalitarian drivil though with a strong homoerotic charge). Of course, this was held against Cocteau later as collaboration and fraternizing with the enemy.

Can anyone here add a paragraph about Cocteau's political stance? (One of his lovers was tortured to death by the Nazis as a member of the resistance.) If not, I'd like to add a few lines about Breker, as above.

Please respond! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:17, 14 November 2008 (UTC)


"Orphée" is also a theatre piece from 1926--Revery (talk) 15:51, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Cocteau painting in the BBC Bureau, Paris[edit]

Reference with photo here [3]. (talk) 11:46, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

(Non-)Discussion of his sexuality[edit]

If earlier article revisions perhaps included too much discussion of Cocteau's homo- or bisexuality, the current version is way too oblique and prudish about it: ", friends and lovers..."—how much more vague can it get?

I certainly don't agree with queer studies proponents claiming more or less every artist to have been gay in hindsight, but I think in Cocteau's case there can be no question that he was quite open about it and that it influenced his work, so it deserves some discussion (without taking over the entire article).

So IMHO this article needs to find a reasonable middle ground between prurient and prudish, perhaps by readmitting some of the material in earlier revisions, with decent references of course. E.g. Steegmuller's book, which AFAIK, despite being 40 years old, is not nearly so evasive about the whole subject as the WP article right now. --Morn (talk) 00:31, 23 September 2010 (UTC)


"Along with other avant-garde artists of his generation (Jean Anouilh and René Char for example) Cocteau grappled with the algebra of verbal codes old and new, mise en scène language and technologies of modernism to create a paradox: a classical avant-garde." Oh my goodness, that is the most pretentious thing I've read in at least a week. Can someone please edit or remove that to make it less obnoxious and un-encyclopedic? (talk) 21:10, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Natalie Paley[edit]

I stumbled upon some articles about the relationship between the princes Natalie Paley and Cocteau. Apparently in one of his book Frédéric Miterrand points out that Cocteau has largely exaggerated this relationship. It was a platonic affair because Nathalie was incapable of physical relationships (she was raped as a child). She was very much annoyed by all the fuss Cocteau made around her. He spoke about her supposed pregnancy only afterwards, but she never confirmed the rumor. Can anyone verify? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nanako1983 (talkcontribs) 08:56, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

I removed this narrative for lack of a (long requested) citation of source. Thank you for marking it.--Jbeans (talk) 07:09, 22 July 2012 (UTC)


I noticed that Cocteau has been placed in a lot of "Christian" categories but there is nothing in his biography that discusses his religious beliefs or if he was in fact an atheist. Categories should reflect what is contained in the subject's biography. They should either be removed or there should be some examination of his religious faith in this article. (talk) 01:11, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

Who died first: Piaf or Cocteau?[edit]

According to this article, Cocteau predeceased Edith Piaf, who died on hearing of his death, but other sources put it the other way round. e.g. Has someone got their pronouns confused here, or is there some doubt about who died first? Rodparkes (talk) 07:32, 12 October 2013 (UTC)

The Wikipedia article was wrong before. Cocteau died after hearing from Piafs death but not because of that (but that's the story that sounds good, and thus its always told). He had heart problems and was already bedridden when he got the message of Piafs death. VINCENZO1492 06:39, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

«His circle of associates, friends and lovers included...»[edit]

«His circle of associates, friends and lovers included Kenneth Anger, Pablo Picasso, Jean Hugo, Jean Marais, Henri Bernstein, Yul Brynner, Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky, María Félix, Édith Piaf, Panama Al Brown and Raymond Radiguet.» -- WATCH OUT! Who's who? Lovers? Surely Raymond Radiguet, Jean Marais and Panama Al Brown. Friends? Surely Pablo Picasso, Jean Hugo, Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel and Édith Piaf. Associates (and friends?)? Kenneth Anger, Henri Bernstein, Yul Brynner, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky, María Félix... —Ana Bruta (talk) 19:37, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

His muse and lover for over 25 years was actor Jean Marais.[edit]

"Muse"? What does that mean? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:11, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

A hypocritical article[edit]

This article seems to have been written in the... 1950s and by a priest! In view of the blatant biographical, mainstream literary and artistic evidence, and most particularly after the publishing of Le Livre blanc (Éditions des Quatres Chemins, Paris, 1928; Éditions du Signe, Paris, 1930, illustrations de l'auteur; Paul Morihien, Paris, 1949, 1953, illustrations de l'auteur; Persona, Paris, 1981; Passage du Marais, Paris, 1992; Le Livre de Poche, 1999; Peter Owen, 2000), of Cocteau: A Biography by Francis Steegmuller (Constable & Robinson, London, 1986), of Lettres à Jean Marais (Albin Michel, Paris, 1987) and of Jean Cocteau: Erotic Drawings (edited by Annie Guédras, Taschen, 1999), trying to hide or elude the overwhelming homosexual nature in Cocteau's life and work can only be outrageously ridiculous, if not outright dishonest! As for labeling Cocteau as "bisexual" on account of a few flimsy failed platonic affairs with one or two women can only be some kind of joke... Also goes passed over in silence the ostracism and bullying he endured at the hands of homophobic surrealists like André Breton, Paul Éluard or Robert Desnos.[4]Orlando F (talk) 13:54, 20 December 2015 (UTC)

File:Jean Cocteau b Meurisse 1923.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Jean Cocteau b Meurisse 1923.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on July 5, 2017. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2017-07-05. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. — Chris Woodrich (talk) 02:48, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

Jean Cocteau
Jean Cocteau (1889–1963) was a French writer, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker. He is best known for his novel Les Enfants Terribles (1929), as well as the films The Blood of a Poet (1930), Les Parents Terribles (1948), Beauty and the Beast (1946) and Orpheus (1949).Photograph: Agence de presse Meurisse; restoration: JLPC

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