Recollections of Proust, Piaf, Colette, and a host of luminaries from Bohemian Paris
For almost 50 years up 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 the fields of theater, cinema, art, ballet, and literature, Cocteau made many lifelong friends. Intimate portraits of some of the greatest artists of his age are included in this memorable memoir. 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 his own work can be found. The portraits include Proust, Picasso, Piaf, Colette, Chaplin, and many more.