The Difficulty of Being by Jean Cocteau

By Jean Cocteau

Reflections on existence and artwork from the mythical filmmaker-novelist-poet-genius. by the point he released the trouble of Being in 1947, Jean Cocteau had produced one of the most revered movies and literature of the 20th century, and had labored with the main artists of his time, together with Proust, Gide, Picasso and Stravinsky. This memoir tells the interior account of these achievements and of his glittering social circle. Cocteau writes approximately his formative years, approximately his improvement as an artist, and the peculiarity of the artist’s lifestyles, approximately his goals, friendships, soreness, and laughter. He probes his motivations and explains his philosophies, giving intimate info in hovering prose. And sprinkled all through are anecdotes concerning the elite and old humans he linked to. past illuminating a very striking lifestyles, the trouble of Being is an inspiring homage to the idea that paintings issues.

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I had the good fortune to be living close to the marines. Among them an incredible freedom of thought prevailed. † I repeat that, in Paris, the field was free. We occupied it. As early as 1916 our revolution began. After Stravinsky, Picasso. At last I knew the secret without knowledge of which all mental effort is fruitless. A world existed in which the artist finds before he seeks and finds unceasingly. A world where the wars are the wars of religion. Picasso, Stravinsky were its leaders. One attaches too much importance to the word genius.

A young chimneysweep in a top hat, on a bone-shaker, with the elegance of an acrobat of extraordinary versatility, capable of scaling the ladder he is carrying on his back like a musical instrument. This was near a noisy saw-mill. And others, others, others. And from the emptiness the wreck of derelict emotions flowing in on the scum and returning to the open sea. So there it is. This is how it strikes me in the peace of this countryside, of this house that cherishes me, that I live in alone, in this March of 1947, after a long, long wait.

It is this that baffles those who could rid me of this legendary leprosy. They do not know how to take me. This organic disorder is a safeguard for me because it keeps the thoughtless at a distance. I also get certain advantages from it. It gives me diversity, contrast, a quickness in leaning to one side or the other, as this or that object invites me, and in regaining my balance. Certainly it makes my dogma obscure, my cause difficult to defend. But since no one comes to my aid, I run to my own and try to keep up with myself.

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