Jean Cocteau quotes

Jean Cocteau photo
123   8

Jean Cocteau

Birthdate: 5. July 1889
Date of death: 11. October 1963

Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau was a French writer, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker. Cocteau is best known for his novel Les Enfants Terribles , and the films The Blood of a Poet , Les Parents Terribles , Beauty and the Beast and Orpheus . His circle of associates, friends and lovers included Kenneth Anger, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Jean Hugo, Jean Marais, Henri Bernstein, Yul Brynner, Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel, Erik Satie, Albert Gleizes, Igor Stravinsky, Marie Laurencin, María Félix, Édith Piaf, Panama Al Brown, Colette, Jean Genet, and Raymond Radiguet.

„Everything one does in life, even love, occurs in an express train racing toward death.“

—  Jean Cocteau

Opium (1929)
Context: Everything one does in life, even love, occurs in an express train racing toward death. To smoke opium is to get out of the train while it is still moving. It is to concern oneself with something other than life or death.

„Lack of manners is the sign of a hero.“

—  Jean Cocteau

Source: Opium: The Diary of His Cure

„Living is a horizontal fall.“

—  Jean Cocteau

Opium (1929)
Variant: Life is a horizontal fall.
Source: Opium: The Diary of His Cure

„Poetry is an ethic. By ethic I mean a secret code of behavior, a discipline constructed and conducted according to the capabilities of a man who rejects the falsifications of the categorical imperative.“

—  Jean Cocteau

Diary of an Unknown (1988), On Invisibility
Context: Poetry is an ethic. By ethic I mean a secret code of behavior, a discipline constructed and conducted according to the capabilities of a man who rejects the falsifications of the categorical imperative.
This personal morality may appear to be immorality itself in the eyes of those who lie to themselves, or who live a life of confusion, in such a manner that, for them, a lie becomes the truth, and our truth becomes a lie...

Help us translate English quotes

Discover interesting quotes and translate them.

Start translating

„History is facts which become lies in the end; legends are lies which become history in the end.“

—  Jean Cocteau

As quoted in The Observer (22 September 1957)
Context: What is history after all? History is facts which become lies in the end; legends are lies which become history in the end.

„Beauty is always the result of an accident. Of a violent lapse between acquired habits and those yet to be acquired.“

—  Jean Cocteau

Diary of an Unknown (1988), On Invisibility
Context: Beauty is always the result of an accident. Of a violent lapse between acquired habits and those yet to be acquired. It baffles and disgusts. It may even horrify. Once the new habit has been acquired, the accident ceases to be an accident. It becomes classical and loses its shock value.

„Poetry, being elegance itself, cannot hope to achieve visibility.“

—  Jean Cocteau

Diary of an Unknown (1988), On Invisibility
Context: Poetry, being elegance itself, cannot hope to achieve visibility. In that case, you ask me, of what use is it? Of no use. Who will see it? No one. Which does not prevent it from being an outrage to modesty, though its exhibitionism is squandered on the blind. It is enough for poetry to express a personal ethic, which can then break away in the form of a work. It insists on living its own life. It becomes the pretext for a thousand misunderstandings that go by the name of glory...

„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“

—  Jean Cocteau

"De la Ligne" in La Difficulté d’Etre [The Difficulty of Being] (1947)
Context: 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.

„It insists on living its own life. It becomes the pretext for a thousand misunderstandings that go by the name of glory…“

—  Jean Cocteau

Diary of an Unknown (1988), On Invisibility
Context: Poetry, being elegance itself, cannot hope to achieve visibility. In that case, you ask me, of what use is it? Of no use. Who will see it? No one. Which does not prevent it from being an outrage to modesty, though its exhibitionism is squandered on the blind. It is enough for poetry to express a personal ethic, which can then break away in the form of a work. It insists on living its own life. It becomes the pretext for a thousand misunderstandings that go by the name of glory...

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

Similar authors

Francois Mauriac photo
Francois Mauriac38
French author
Coco Chanel photo
Coco Chanel22
French fashion designer
Paul Claudel photo
Paul Claudel6
French diplomat
Guillaume Apollinaire photo
Guillaume Apollinaire28
French poet
Romain Rolland photo
Romain Rolland43
French author
Luigi Pirandello photo
Luigi Pirandello7
Italian dramatist, novelist, short story writer, and poet, …
Jacques Prevért photo
Jacques Prevért12
French poet, screenwriter
Peter Ustinov photo
Peter Ustinov59
English actor, writer, and dramatist
Paul Valéry photo
Paul Valéry83
French poet, essayist, and philosopher
Friedrich Dürrenmatt photo
Friedrich Dürrenmatt19
Swiss author and dramatist
Today anniversaries
Heinz Guderian photo
Heinz Guderian15
German general 1888 - 1954
Ajahn Chah photo
Ajahn Chah7
thai Buddhist monk 1918 - 1992
John Wesley photo
John Wesley72
Christian theologian 1703 - 1791
Joseph Addison photo
Joseph Addison226
politician, writer and playwright 1672 - 1719
Another 68 today anniversaries
Similar authors
Francois Mauriac photo
Francois Mauriac38
French author
Coco Chanel photo
Coco Chanel22
French fashion designer
Paul Claudel photo
Paul Claudel6
French diplomat
Guillaume Apollinaire photo
Guillaume Apollinaire28
French poet
Romain Rolland photo
Romain Rolland43
French author