Jean Cocteau

Cocteau, Jean (zhäN kôktōˈ) [key], 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 Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Jean Cocteau from Fact Monster:

  • Bernard Buffet - Buffet, Bernard Buffet, Bernard , 1928–, French painter. Buffet's melancholy paintings ...
  • Arthur Honegger - Honegger, Arthur Honegger, Arthur , 1892–1955, Swiss-French composer, studied at the ...
  • Edith Piaf - Piaf, Edith Piaf, Edith , 1915–63, French cabaret singer, born as Edith Giovanna Gassion. She ...
  • Pierre Cardin - Cardin, Pierre Cardin, Pierre , 1922–, French fashion designer. He spent most of his early ...
  • Les Six - Six, Les Six, Les , a short-lived group of six young early 20th-century French musicians. They were ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: French Literature: Biographies