Download Jean Cocteau (Reaktion Books - Critical Lives) by James S. Williams PDF

By James S. Williams

Regardless of Jean Cocteau’s renown as a number one determine in eu cinema, his paintings and lifestyles have hardly been tested jointly. comparing Cocteau’s occupation and his interesting own existence on equivalent phrases, James Williams bargains right here a groundbreaking research that units them either inside hugely revealing old and creative contexts.Williams’s biographical research of this poet, dramatist, novelist, fashion designer, and filmmaker facilities round Cocteau’s consistent self-questioning and the way it permeated his paintings. From Cocteau’s paintings in model and images to his formal experimentation to his vast collaborations with male neighbors and enthusiasts, the ebook charts the complicated and unpredictable evolution of his paintings and aesthetic. Williams argues that Cocteau’s physique of labor is healthier seen as a moral, erotic venture of aesthetics that includes very important ramifications for our modern knowing of being and subjectivity.An enticing and completely available account, Jean Cocteau is vital examining for all these serious about the guy and his unforgettable movies. (20080701)

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Le Mot hopes you will follow it on this path of France’ (emphases original). Problems arose only when Cocteau decided to feature the work of the emphatically Cubist painter Albert Gleizes, as well as Roger de la Fresnaye. Cubism, deemed ‘Kubisme’ through association with the soup ‘Kub’, was deemed now in polite circles a suspect German invention, although Cocteau successfully made it his own in works such as Les Eugènes de la guerre (around 1913–14), an intense collage coated with shards of English, French and German newspapers.

A collaboration with Stravinsky was the obvious way forward. David sprang superficially from the composer’s earlier ballet score for Petrushka and was quite traditional in its heroic mythological vein, based around the theme of a travelling circus with acrobats performing outside a tent in which the real show ‘David’ unfolds. Cocteau appointed himself librettist, choreographer and setdesigner, and the role of David was offered to Paulet Thévenaz, a young Swiss painter and dancer who earned his living by teaching at the recently founded Paris School of Dalcroze Eurythmics.

The same wounds of loneliness and emptiness opened up within Cocteau as before, yet significantly, although clearly fearful of the possible public repercussions of the incident, he promptly wrote a sonnet (‘by way of an epitaph’) devoted to Laurent’s memory, as well as a ballad (‘Souvenir d’un soir d’automne au jardin Eaden’). With its oblique and mysterious allusions to the real incident, the ballad reveals Cocteau’s compulsive need both to invoke the real and to reinscribe it as legend, thus displacing and ultimately dispersing his trauma as little more than a passing trifle.

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