For almost fifty years (until his death in 1963) Jean Cocteau held a unique place in French cultural life. The breadth of his artistic success bears witness to the astounding variety of his talents. In these fields - theatre, cinema, art, ballet and literature - Cocteau made many life-long friends. Intimate portraits of these friends and intimates make up this highly regarded volume. Jean Cocteau was drawn to larger than life or seemingly unreal characters. He believed that their unreality was often the clue to the secrets of their personality. In descriptions of his contemporaries, Cocteau is able to illustrate everything that is accessible, sympathetic, memorable, durable, all-pervading or dazzling about them. Ranging from the moving and atmospheric (the dying Proust in his cork-lined chamber) to the hilariously camp (Colette being carried from her apartment by sedan chair to have lunch across the road), it is in these portraits that the essence of Cocteaus own work can be found. Portraits include: Anna de Noailles, Erik Satie, Sergei Diaghilev, Vaslav Nijinsjy, Empress Eugenie, Marcel Proust, Raymond Radiguet, Guillaume Apollinaire, Maurice Sachs, Andre Gide, Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Charlie Chaplin, Eith Piaf, Giorgio de Chirico, Colette, and many others.
Jean Cocteau is regarded as one of France's greatest men of arts and letters. A multi-faceted talent and arecipient of the Legion d'honneur, he achieved distinction as a poet, playwright, and critic as well as an artist, illustrator, composer, actor, and internationally acclaimed filmmaker. Hewas the author ofLa Belle et la Bete, Les Enfants Terribles, Opium, and Thomas The Impostor.