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Jean Cocteau Quotes


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Since the day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, without hurrying.
 

Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.
[Taste]
 

Tact in audacity is knowing how far you can go without going too far.
 

Take a commonplace, clean it and polish it, light it so that it produces the same effect of youth and freshness and originality and spontaneity as it did originally, and you have done a poet's job. The rest is literature.
 

The actual tragedies of life bear no relation to one's preconceived ideas. In the event, one is always bewildered by their simplicity, their grandeur of design, and by that element of the bizarre which seems inherent in them.
 

The day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, without hurrying.
 

The ear disapproves but tolerates certain musical pieces; transfer them into the domain of our nose, and we will be forced to flee.
 

The extreme limit of wisdom, that's what the public calls madness.
 

The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order.
 

The instinct of nearly all societies is to lock up anybody who is truly free. First, society begins by trying to beat you up. If this fails, they try to poison you. If this fails too, the finish by loading honors on your head.
 

The joy of the young is to disobey - but the trouble is that there are no longer any orders.
[Youth]
 

The Louvre is a morgue; you go there to identify your friends.
 

The poet doesn't invent. He listens.
[Poetry]
 

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.
[Poetry]
 

The poet never asks for admiration; he wants to be believed.
 

The reward of art is not fame or success but intoxication: that is why so many bad artists are unable to give it up.
 

The ultimate politeness in art consists of speaking only to those who are able to uncover and measure its relationships. Anything else is symbolic, and symbolism is merely transcendental imagery.
 

The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood.
 

There are too many souls of wood not to love those wooden characters who do indeed have a soul.
 

There are truths which one can only say after having won the right to say them.
 


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