Lot n° 65
1000 - 1500
COCTEAU JEAN (1889-1963).
2 autograph MANUSCRITS signed "Jean Cocteau", ; 4 pages in-4 (in red ballpoint pen, with erasures and corrections), and 10 pages and a half in-4.
Two manuscripts of prefaces.
Prestige des Mille et Une Nuits, . Preface to the Thousand and One Nights (Club du livre du mois, 1955); it was collected in volume
I of Poésie critique (Gallimard, 1959). "Long were the thousand and one nights for Scheherazade, short for the Kaliph, and it is from these two confused dimensions that is born the prestige of a living work which draws its source in the fear of death. [In this exercise that forces the mind to empty the arsenal of memory, to give birth to characters, cities, palaces and caves, to fly to the four corners of the world on the shoulders of geniuses locked in vases, [...] the sultana invents the soap opera and the episodic film. She is the ancestor of all the novelists of our childhood when they prevented us from eating and sleeping" .... (Tapuscript attached, signed, with autograph title and a dozen corrections in blue ballpoint pen).
Preface for La Princesse de Clèves, , written for an edition of La Princesse de Clèves by the Livre Club du Libraire (1960), on the occasion of the release of Jean Delannoy's film, for which Cocteau wrote the adaptation and dialogues. "Madame de La Fayette was a great friend of La Rochefoucauld. [...] while La Rochefoucauld sums up his work in a few sentences, Madame de La Fayette does not hesitate to build a delicate and great machine inspired by the circulation of the blood and the tree of nerves", and The Princess of Cleves is a "kind of realistic fairy tale as white, as light, as compact as snow. [...] Her style, which consists in saying obscure things as clearly as possible, complex things as simply as possible, is the height of elegance"... After rejecting the reproach of frivolity, Cocteau indulges in variations on genius, inspiration and poetry: "Poetry is made of numbers and algebra.
It is precise. [...] Madame de La Fayette is a great poet"... At the end of his text, Cocteau evokes the memory of Raymond RADIGUET: "It is in front of The Princess of Cleves that Raymond Radiguet set up his easel to, he said, copy it. It resulted from it The Ball of the Count of Orgel"... (Tapuscript attached).
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