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 :: 1889-1963, French Author, Filmmaker

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Such is the role of poetry. It unveils, in the strict sense of the word. It lays bare, under a light which shakes off torpor, the surprising things which surround us and which our senses record mechanically.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Poetry and Poets]

 

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Tact in audacity consists in knowing how far we may go too far.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Tact and Tactfulness]

 

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Tact is knowing how far to go too far.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Tact and Tactfulness]

 

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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.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Commonplace]

 

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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.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Adversity]

 

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The extreme limit of wisdom --that's what the public calls madness.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Wisdom]

 

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The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Literature]

 

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The joy of youth is to disobey; but the trouble is that there are no longer any orders.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Obedience]

 

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The Louver is a morgue; you go there to identify your friends.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Museums and Galleries]

 

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There is always a period when a man with a beard shaves it off. This period does not last. He returns headlong to his beard.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Beards]

 

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True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Reality]

 

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We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?
~ Jean Cocteau - [Luck]

 

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Wealth is an inborn attitude of mind, like poverty. The pauper who has made his pile may flaunt his spoils, but cannot wear them plausibly.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Wealth]

 

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What is line? It is life. A line must live at each point along its course in such a way that the artist's presence makes itself felt above that of the model. With the writer, line takes precedence over form and content. It runs through the words he assembles. It strikes a continuous note unperceived by ear or eye. It is, in a way, the soul's style, and if the line ceases to have a life of its own, if it only describes an arabesque, the soul is missing and the writing dies.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Style]

 

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What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Critics and Criticism]

 

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When a work appears to be ahead of its time, it is only the time that is behind the work.
~ Jean Cocteau - [Originality]

 

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