Jean Cocteau, the son of Georges and Eugénie, is born on July 5th in Maisons-Laffitte. The couple already have two children: Marthe, born in 1877 and Paul, born in 1881.
|The family lives with their maternal grandparents in a town house at 45 rue La Bruyère in Paris during the winter and at a property in Maisons-Laffitte during the summer. Jean is a pampered but nervous child. He has a capricious character and is often ill. He grows up in a mondain milieu where the arts are held in high esteem. His father draws and, at an early age, Jean starts to do the same. His grandfather is a collector and a music lover who organises musical sessions in the house. Fascinated by the theatre, Jean devours the specialist magazines he finds at home; he also attends several stage performances for children. |
|1898||On April 5th, for reasons that remain a mystery, his father puts a gun to his head and commits suicide. It takes until 1963, the year of his own death, for Cocteau to speak publicly of the tragedy on the TV documentary Portrait-souvenir. |
In the spring, grandmother Lecomte dies. The grandfather continues to live with his daughter. He looks after Jean and takes him to concerts at the Conservatory every Sunday.
At the Universal Exhibition, Cocteau is awestruck by the dance performance given by Loïe Fuller. In August, he holidays in Switzerland. In October, after a period of primary schooling that by all accounts was below average and often interrupted by ill-health, he begins his first year in high school at the Petit Condorcet. His fellow students include Dargelos whom he will transform into a legendary character.
He plays with his school friends in the cité Monthiers at 55 rue de Clichy (a location he will use in Blood of a Poet, Opium et Les enfants terribles (Children of the Game)). The death of an unidentified friend has a major impact on him. It is also a year in which he experiences the sudden revelation of beauty in a pupil and feels the "desire to be join those he finds beautiful rather than worry about being liked by them."" It is a sentiment he will later attribute to Jacques, the hero of the Grand Ecart (The Great Divide).
In October, he begins his third year of high school at the Grand Condorcet. He excels in just three subjects: “drawing, gymnastics and German. His teachers find him intelligent but inconsistent, inattentive and restless.
Jean travels to Châtel-Guyon and Venice with his mother.
Jean is expelled from school at Easter due to his chronic absence. He completes the academic year by taking private lessons and in October he begins his fourth year of high school at the école Fénelon in rue du Général-Foy. He draws profusely.
Jean is still enrolled at the école Fénelon. He spends the summer at the home of his friend Rocher in La Boissière, near Moy, in the Aisne.
In April, grandfather Lecomte dies. With his friends Rocher and Boulant, the young Cocteau becomes an habitué of the café-cabaret Eldorado where Dranem and Mistinguett perform. During May and June, he has a brief affair with Jeanne Reynette, one of the cabaret's artists. In July, he fails his baccalaureate. We have no account other than his own regarding an incident in which he absconded to Marseille and his brother was dispatched to find him. To prepare him for his second attempt at the baccalaureate, his mother sends him to Val André and the home of Herman Dietz, a teacher at the lycée Buffon who takes boarders during the summer break. In October, Jean fails his baccalaureate again. He takes additional private lessons under the stewardship of Dietz in the rue Claude-Bernard.
Mme. Cocteau leaves the house in Rue La Bruyère and moves to a smaller home at 62 Rue Malakoff (now called Avenue Henri-Poincaré) where she is able to maintain the lifestyle to which she is accustomed. Henceforth she lives alone with Jean. Jean, meanwhile, again fails to pass his baccalaureate despite another extended visit to the Dietz's in Val-André during August and September. He will not continue his studies. Instead, he writes poems, develops a passion for theatre and, no doubt due to the influence of De Max, persuades himself that a great future awaits him.
His mother introduces him into society and he quickly earns a reputation as a dandy. He mixes with Catulle Mendès and makes friends with Lucien Daudet and Maurice Rostand. On April 4th, at the Théâtre Fémina on the Champs-Elysées, De Max organises a morning of poetry devoted to "a young 18-year-old poet, Jean Cocteau" with a presentation by Laurent Tailhade. The event is a great success in academic and literary circles. On May 12th, Cocteau attends the opening of the Salon des poètes and on July 15th publishes his first poem "Les Façades" in the review Je sais tout. In September, he travels to Italy with his mother: to Isola Madre on Lake Maggiore, then to Verona and Venice. On the 24th, while in Venice, his friend Raymond Laurent kills himself shortly after leaving Cocteau's company. Once again, Cocteau's youth is marked by death. Unbeknown to his mother, on his return to Paris he moves into a pied-à-terre in the gardens of the Hôtel Biron in Rue de Varenne. He has a brief affair with Christiane Mancini, a student at the Conservatory.
Cocteau's literary activity is intense. In January, he works on plans for the magazine Schéhérazade with Maurice Rostand. Six issues will be published between November 1909 and March 1911. He also publishes articles and drawings in Comoedia. In February, his first anthology of poems, La Lampe d'Aladin (Aladdin's Lamp) is published. Following the Paris premiere of the Ballets Russes on May 19th, Misia Sert introduces him to Serge de Diaghilev. That summer, he is invited to the home of the Rostands in Arnaga in the Basque country. On November 20th, in Le Témoin he draws a caricature of the actress Madeleine Carlier with whom he has an affair and whom he introduces as his fiancée.
Mme. Cocteau moves to 10 Rue d'Anjou, where she will live until the outbreak of war in 1939. Jean spends less and less time under his mother's roof. Even so, she continues to watch over him, intervening directly to end his relationship with Madeleine Carlier and to make him give up his lodgings in the Hôtel Biron. He is introduced into Madeleine Lemaire's salon by Lucien Daudet and Reynaldo Hahn. He meets Proust at the home of Mme. Straus, the widow of Bizet. He meets Jacques-Emile Blanche and François Mauriac. At the end of May, his second anthology of verse, Le Prince frivole (The Frivolous Prince) is published. In August, he travels to Clarens with André Paysan, a contributor at Schéhérazade. Together, they write La Patience de Pénélope, de Pénélope, mensonge en un acte (The Patience of Penelope, a lie in one act), with music by Reynaldo Hahn. More of Cocteau's articles and drawings are published in Comoedia.
On February 14th, he meets the Comtesse de Noailles, whom he greatly admires. Whilst at the home of Mme. Simone in Trie la Ville, he also meets Alain Fournier and Péguy. At the same time, Diaghilev introduces him to Stravinsky. He spends Easter in Cap Martin with his mother, Mme Daudet and Lucien Daudet. The latter introduces him to the Empress Eugénie. He spends August with the Daudets at château de La Roche near Amboise. Throughout the year, he publishes articles and drawings in Comoedia, Comoedia illustré and Les Humoristes ; he writes the libretto for a ballet, Le Dieu bleu (Blue God) ; and he designs two playbills for Le Spectre de la rose He also writes "Ballet Russe", a text for the troupe's programme.
In February, he poses at the home of Jacques-Emile Blanche, who paints his portrait. From March 12th to April 8th, he travels to Algeria with Lucien Daudet. On May 13th, Dieu bleu (Blue God), is performed by the Ballets Russes to music by Reynaldo Hahn. Karsavina and Nijinsky are among the dancers. However, the work is poorly received by the public - something that will greatly impact Cocteau. At the same time, Diaghilev issues Cocteau with his famous challenge: "Etonne-moi!" ("Astound me!""). At the end of June his third book of verse, La Danse de Sophocle (The Dance of Sophocles), is published. The judgement of the critics, together with the failure of his ballet and Diaghilev's comments, lead him to question the value and meaning of his early successes. A busy summer itinerary helps to distract him: he spends from August 8th to August 15th at the home of Jacques-Emile Blanche in Offranville where he meets Princesse Bibesco. The second half of August is spent at the château de La Roche with the Daudets, then in Saint-Jean-de-Luz with his mother and finally, in Cambo at the Rostands where he remains until the end of September. At the end of the year, the death of Henri Bouvelet, a contributor to Schéhérazade again leads him to anguish over the tragic destiny of certain young people. Some of his poems and prose appear in Comoedia, Le Figaro, La Revue de Paris, Je sais tout and Les Annales.
In April and May, Cocteau stays at the Trianon-Palace Hotel in Versailles with Maurice Rostand. On May 29th, the premiere of Rite of Spring, enraptures him; the hostility shown by the public confirms his notion that artistic creativity can but be non-conformist. He works on a project with André Lhote to direct A Midsummer Night's Dream. From August 11th to September 16th and from October 7th to November 7th, he stays with Jacques-Emile Blanche in Offranville: he poses for another portrait and tries his hand at painting, surprising and disconcerting his host. On October 14th, he meets Gide for the first time. He begins work on what is to become Le Potomak and sketches his first Eugènes. On November 23rd, his article on Swann's Way, written at the instigation of Proust, is published in Excelsior. The same month, a mutual friend introduces him to Roland Garros. He takes his first flight in the company of the aviator, though the exact date of the flight remains uncertain.
In January he visits Stravinsky, who is passing through Paris. He presents him with a project for a ballet - a music hall "parade" entitled David. However, reminded by Diaghilev of his previous commitments, Stravinsky will never complete the ballet. Back in Paris, Cocteau finishes Le Potomak. Though ruled unfit for military service, he does not wish to remain inactive when war is declared. At the beginning of August, he joins the Red Cross and is responsible for numerous humanitarian tasks. In September, he joins a convoy to evacuate the wounded from Champagne and witnesses the bombardment of Reims. Back in Paris, he visits Barrès: the discussions disappoint him. He prepares the journal Le Mot with Paul Iribe. The first issue appears on November 28th. He signs his drawings under the pseudonym of Jim. On the 26th, the military review board for the Department of the Seine designates him for auxiliary service. He volunteers for the Army's Ambulance Section, created by Etienne de Beaumont and leaves for the front in Flanders.
In January, Le Mot becomes a weekly; its twentieth and last issue will be published in July. Cocteau meets Raoul de Castelnau who inspires him to create the character of Thomas the Imposter. On February 14th Le Figaro publishes his Hymne à Joffre on the front page. Cocteau begins writing the poem that will become Le Cap de Bonne-Espérance (Cape of Good Hope). Valentine Gross introduces him to the world of modern painting. He is called up for active duty on March 4th and is transferred on the 18th as backup to the 22nd section of clerical workers. On November 13th he is given a deferment to the Société française de secours aux blesses - an organisation to aid wounded servicemen - in rue François Ier. Whilst there, he is assigned to the ambulance service. On December 18th, he is sent as an ambulance man to a unit of marines at the front in Nieuport. The end of the year will prove decisive to his artistic direction. He meets Erik Satie at the home of Valentine Gross and launches the project for Parade. At the beginning of December, Varèse introduces him to Picasso.
Cocteau spends the entire winter at the front in Yser. From the end of March to the beginning of April, he is on leave in Paris. Picasso introduces him to Montparnasse and, on May 1st, he paints Cocteau in uniform. The plans for Parade become clearer. Cocteau returns to the front from May 7th to May 30th and is on leave again in Boulogne-sur-Mer from June 1st to June 10th: whilst there, he meets up with Valentine Gross. On the 24th, he leaves Nieuport for another posting in Amiens. On July 29th, he returns to Paris definitively. In September, he is transferred to the French Foreign Ministry's department of propaganda. He is an active participant in the literary and artistic world. He socializes with Paul Morand and meets Bakst, Stravinsky, and Darius Milhaud… He writes one of three prefaces to the catalogue of the exhibition of French painting in Oslo during November and December. He contributes to the first exhibition of the association Lyre & Palette which is held in Montparnasse.
Diaghilev decides to have the Ballets Russes perform Parade and he asks Massine to choreograph the work. From February 19th to April 9th, Cocteau and Picasso join the troupe of the Ballets Russes in Rome to help prepare the ballet. On March 10th and 11th, he visits Naples and Pompeii. The premiere of Parade takes place on May 18th at the Théâtre de Châtelet. The public and the critics are more surprised than scandalized by Satie’s music and Picasso’s sets and costumes. From August 17th to October 15th, he makes his first visit to Piquey in the Arcachon basin, with the Lhotes.
Cocteau stays at the Croissets villa in Grasse until February 10th. Whilst there, he writes Le Coq et l'Arlequin (The Cock and Harlequin). Cendrars introduces him to the Editions de la Sirène created by Paul Laffitte at the end of 1917. On July 2nd, he is definitively discharged from military service. On July 12th, Cocteau, Apollinaire and Max Jacob, are witnesses to the marriage of Picasso and Olga Koklova. On August 7th, he and Satie are witnesses to the marriage of Jean Hugo and Valentine Gross. From July 15th to August 12th, he stays at the home of the Beaumonts in Paris before travelling to Piquey where he will remain until the beginning of October. On November 9th, Appolinaire dies: Cocteau sees himself as his spiritual heir. Dans le ciel de la patrie (In the Sky of the Homeland) is published. Le Cap de Bonne-Espérance (Cape of Good Hope) and Le Coq et l'Arlequin (The Cock and the Harlequin), though printed in December at the Editions de la Sirène will not go on sale until January.
Cocteauâ€™s Ode Ã Picasso (Ode to Picasso) is printed on February 9th. From March 31st to August 11th, the â€œCarte blancheâ€ series is published in Paris-Midi. In it, Cocteau outlines his own particular aesthetic. In March, Aragon, Breton and Soupault launch their initially eclectic review Littérature. Despite his efforts to become involved in the publication, Cocteau finds himself sidelined. For a time, he strengthens his ties to the Dadaists and provides some poetry to the Anthologie Dada, which appears on May 15th. On May 20th, as Le Potomak is released, Gide publishes an open letter to Jean Cocteau in the N.R.F. in which he critiques Le Cap de Bonne-Espérance (Cape of Good Hope) and Parade. In the same article, Gide goes on to cite Le Coq et lâ€™Arlequin (The Cock and the Harlequin) as evidence that the poet has no musical ability. Cocteau responds in the June/July issue of Les Ecrits nouveaux and Gide shoots back in the same review in October. For Cocteau, the acrimonious debate temporarily shuts the door to the N.R.F. On June 8th, Cocteau attends a special tribute to Apollinaire given at Léonce Rosenbergâ€™s gallery â€œLâ€™effort moderneâ€. Whilst there, he meets sixteen-year-old Raymond Radiguet.
Cocteau becomes defender and spokesman of the young musicians who are quickly gaining notoriety as the "Group of Six". On Saturdays, he meets with the likes of Jean Hugo and Paul Morand at Gauclair, a restaurant on the Rue de Richelieu. On January 23rd, Cocteau attends the Dadaist rally; however, he breaks with the movement at the end of April after Tzara and Picabia dismiss his poetry. On February 21st, the premiere of Bœuf sur le toit (The Ox on the Roof) is performed by the Fratellinis, a trio of clowns. In March and April, he and Radiguet travel to Carqueiranne in the Var. La Noce massacre (The Wedding Massacre) is published in April; Poésies (1917-1920) is published in May together with the first issue of the review Le Coq which he edits with Radiguet (the fourth and final issue of that review will be published in November). He spends June and most of July in London with Darius Milhaud to fine-tune the English production of Bœuf sur le toit (Ox on the Roof) at the Coliseum. From August 10th to mid-October, Cocteau goes to Piquey. Radiguet joins him there. First, he writes Le Baron Lazare, a three-act play that will remain unpublished. Then, he and Radiguet co-write Paul & Virginie, a libretto intended for Satie. Finally, he creates Le Gendarme incompris, a sketch that Pierre Bertin will exhibit the following year. On December 9th, Picabia, with whom he has remained on good terms, opens an exhibition of Cocteau's work before an eclectic audience at La Cible in Rue Bonaparte: a "Parisian jazz" is performed by Auric, Poulenc and Cocteau. Cocteau, a fond admirer of American music, enthusiastically tries his hand at the drums and the trumpet. On December 21st, Parade is performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Cocteau reiterates that, despite his friendship for Tzara and Picabia he is not a Dadaist. At the end of December, Escales is published. The work is illustrated by André Lhote.
At the beginning of the year, Darius Milhaud introduces Cocteau to Le Gaya, a bar on the Rue Duphot owned by Louis Moysès where pianist Jean Wiener plays jazz music. Cocteau makes it his preferred hangout in competition with Le Certà, where the Dadaists meet. On February 27th, Radiguet leaves for Carqueiranne. Cocteau, who is obliged to remain in Paris to prepare a production of the Mariés de la tour Eiffel (The Eiffel Tower Wedding Party) with the Swedish Ballet Company, joins him on March 16th. He and Radiguet remain in Carqueiranne until mid-April. Cocteau works on the Discours du grand sommeil (Discourse for the Big Sleep). On June 18th, the Mariés de la tour Eiffel (The Eiffel Tower Wedding Party) opens at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées; the Dadaists heckle the performance. He spends August and September in Piquey with Radiguet, who writes Le Diable au corps (Devil in the Flesh). Cocteau works on his bilan de l’esprit poétique (an assessment of the poetic mind), which the following year will become Le secret professionnel. In a clear sign that Radiguet’s influence has spurred a return to classicism, Cocteau picks up the theme again in two lectures given in Geneva and Lausanne on December 8th and 9th. During the Autumn, he starts work preparing adaptations of Antigone and Oedipus Rex.
On January 10th, the bar Le Bœuf sur le toit, run by Moysès opens its doors on the Rue Boissy-d'Anglas. Cocteau hosts the soirées, Jean Wiener plays piano. A few days later, Radiguet runs off to Marseille and Corsica with Brancusi. On March 15th, Vocabulaire is printed. On May 13th, after making up with Radiguet, Cocteau travels with the latter to le Lavandou. A period of intense activity follows: Radiguet corrects the proofs of Diable au corps (Devil in the Flesh) and begins Le Bal du comte d'Orgel (The Ball of Count Orgel); Cocteau writes Le Grand Ecart (The Great Divide), Thomas l'Imposteur (Thomas the Impostor) and a series of poems that will eventually form the basis for Plein-chant. The dress rehearsal of Antigone takes place on December 20th. The performance, directed by Dullin and with music by Honegger is marked by further demonstrations from the Dadaists.
In February, Cocteau spends a few days alone in Chantilly, at the Hôtel du Grand-Condé. In March, Le Diable au corps (Devil in the Flesh) is published. In April, Cocteau travels to London and Oxford with Radiguet. In the Autumn, Plein-chant, la Rose de François, and Picasso are released. In October, Le Grand écart (The Great Divide), and Thomas l'Imposteur (Thomas the Impostor) are published - a week apart. In late November, Radiguet takes up residence in the Hotel Foyot. On December 12th, for want of adequate medical supervision, he dies of typhoid. Devastated, Cocteau does not attend the funeral.
|1924||In January, Diaghilev, Auric and Poulenc take a distraught Cocteau to Monte-Carlo. They urge him to find solace in opium. He works on plans for the ballet Le Train bleu. In February, in Paris, he meets Maurice Sachs for the first time. He works on preparations for Romeo & Juliet which is set to open at the Théâtre de la Cigale on June 2nd. Not only does he direct the play, he also plays Mercutio. Sachs too, appears in the cast. Le Train bleu has its premiere on June 20th with music by Darius Milhaud. Cocteau attends a performance of the ballet in London in December. At the end of June, a collection of drawings dedicated to Picasso goes on sale in bookstores. In July, Auric takes Cocteau, who is desperately seeking spiritual peace, to the home of the Maritains. The same month, on a visit to the home of Picasso, he discovers the name Heurtebise in a lift. It spurs him to write the poem L'Ange Heurtebise (The Angel Heurtbise). He leaves for Villefranche and the villa Le Calme where he will remain with Georges Auric and Marcelle Garros until November. He visits Picasso, the Hugos, and the Croissets. He also learns to drive. |
Poésie 1916-1923 is published in January. In February, Cocteau meets Jean Bourgoint and Bourgoint’s sister Jeanne. Their room will be his inspiration for the sets of the Enfants Terribles (Children of the Game). From March 15th to April 15th, at the Maritains’ urging he seeks treatment for opium addiction at the Clinique des Thermes Urbains in Rue Chateaubriand. He draws prolifically and writes poetry that will eventually be included in Opera. He convalescences in Versailles until May 11th. Cri écrit (Written Cries) is published. He spends from August to October at the Hotel Welcome in Villefranche; Georges Hugnet introduces him to Christian Bérard. A period of intense creativity ensues; Lettre à Maritain, Orpheus, Opéra, Oedipus Rex. Prière mutilée (Maimed Prayer) and l’Ange Heurtebise (The Angel Heurtbise) are all published in August. Cocteau starts writing to Jean Desbordes. The first volume of Maritain's "Le Roseau d'or" (The Golden Reed) on which Cocteau collaborated arrives in bookstores. At Christmas, Abbé Mugnier hears Cocteau's confession; Cocteau attends Midnight Mass and celebrates Christmas Eve at the Maritains.
|1926 || |
Having arrived at the Hotel Welcome in Villefranche on December 31st, Cocteau spends the entire year there making only brief trips to Paris. He writes Oedipus Rex for Stravinsky who, from mid-January works on the music. Disputes arise with the surrealists. Orpheus has its première on June 17th at the Théâtre des Arts. Cocteau spends the summer in Villefranche; Jean Desbordes, who has become a substitute for Radiguet, visits him. Le Rappel à l'ordre (The Call to Order), Romeo & Juliet and an album of drawings, Maison de santé (Nursing Home), are published. From December 10th to 28th, an exhibition of unusual objects and drawings entitled Poésie plastique (Sculpted poetry) is held at the Galerie des Quatre Chemins. Cocteau spends the end of December at the Hotel de la Madeleine on rue de Surène, probably with Jean Desbordes.
In January, Cocteau goes to Montpellier and meets Yves Belaval, a young student with whom he has been corresponding. On May 30th, Stravinsky conducts the première of Oedipus Rex. Cocteau spends the summer with Desbordes in Chantilly, then on the Côte d'Azur. Orpheus and Opéra are published. On December 7th, Cocteau gives a lecture at the Université des Annales, on the theme of Orpheus and Oedipus. On December 16th, the opera Pauvre matelot (The Poor Sailor), premières with music by Darius Milhaud. Cocteau completes La voix humaine (The Human Voice) and writes Le Livre blanc (The White Book). On December 28th, the opera Antigone, premieres at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels with music by Honegger.
Cocteau spends the winter with Desbordes at the Hotel Welcome in Villefranche. On his return to Paris, he stays in a hotel or with friends until Coco Chanel lends him an apartment on the Rue Cambon. Le Livre blanc (The White Book) (a print run is released without the author's name) outrages the Maritains. The Mystère laïc (The Secular Mystery) is published in July. In it, Cocteau defends De Chirico who is under attack form the surrealists. He spends the second half of August in the Vosges with Desbordes and the month of September in Villefranche with Chanel. At the end of November, he checks into a clinic in Saint-Cloud for a new bout of detoxification. Chanel covers the costs.
Cocteau, who finds himself in the same clinic as Raymond Roussel, remains there until April when Chanel stops paying for the treatment. He draws, begins Opium and writes Les Enfants terribles (Children of the Game) in eighteen days. He makes his first public appearance on March 19th for a reading of La Voix humaine (The Human Voice) at the Comédie-Française. In April, he takes up residence in a Hotel on the Rue Bonaparte. He spends May with Desbordes -first in Villefranche then in Roquebrune. On June 4th in Paris, he, Gaston Gallimard, René Crevel and Marie Laurencin are witnesses to the marriage of Jouhandeau and Caryathis. In July, Les Enfants terribles (Children of the Game) is published; it is received favourably by the critics. He spends August and September with Desbordes in Roquebrune: the atmosphere is tense and punctuated by disputes. Desbordes finally walks out on Cocteau. That autumn, in Paris, the poet lives at the Madeleine-Hôtel-Palace. He records the poems of Opéra on disc. On December 11th, he attends the tenth anniversary concert for the Group of Six at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. On December 25th, Jeanne Bourgoint commits suicide. As a result, Cocteau and Auric go to Hyères to stay with the Noailles. Cocteau explores the idea of making a cartoon to be financed by Charles de Noailles.
The dress rehearsal of La Voix humaine (The Human Voice) at the Comédie-Française provokes a hostile protest from Eluard. On April 15th, the filming of le Sang d'un poète (Blood of a Poet) gets underway. Shooting will continue until September. On June 4th, at the Théâtre Pigalle, Cantate is performed with music by Igor Markevitch and text by Cocteau. Cocteau spends August and September in Toulon with Desbordes and Bérard. There are numerous soirées at the Villa Blanche, home of the Bourdets. In December, Opium, journal d'une désintoxication (Opium, diary of a detoxification) appears in bookstores.
On May 1st, Cocteau publishes an article in the N.R.F. on Les Tragédiens, the novel by Desbordes published the previous February. He spends the summer in Toulon with Bérard and Desbordes. However, at the end of August he contracts typhoid and is forced to spend forty days in a clinic, after which he convalesces with the Bourdets at Villa Blanche. He returns to Paris on November 15th and starts smoking opium again.
On January 20th, le Sang d'un poète (Blood of a Poet) is screened at Vieux-Colombiers. Essai de critique indirecte (An Essay in Indirect Criticism) is published towards the end of April, followed by Morceaux choisis-Poèmes (Poems and Selected Pieces) in June. In the spring, at a screening of le Sang d'un poète (Blood of a Poet), he meets and subsequently has an affair with Natalie Paley (the niece of Tsar Alexander III, born in 1905). He leaves her in the Summer to join Desbordes in Saint-Mandrier. He completes La machine infernale (the Infernal Machine), a play he had started at the beginning of the year and which Jouvet opts to stage in December. He stays in touch with Natalie by letter. He reproaches her for aborting their child - something she will always deny. In the autumn, their relationship ends for good.
|1933 || |
Marcel Khill, whom Cocteau meets during the summer of 1932, becomes Cocteau's secretary. In November, the Fantôme de Marseille is published in the N.R.F. In December, Jean Desbordes leaves Cocteau definitively. The poet undergoes another bout of detox.
|1934 || |
On March 26th, Soixante dessins pour Les Enfants terribles (Sixty Sketches for Children of the Game) is printed. The dress rehearsal for la Machine infernale (The Infernal Machine) takes place at the Comédie des Champs-Elysées on April 9th. Cocteau plays the Voice and introduces Marcel Khill into the cast. He spends the summer in Villars-sur-Ollon with Marie-Laure de Noailles. In the autumn, he sketches and completes a new play, Les Chevaliers de la Table ronde (The Knights of The Round Table). He often sees Ramuz. Mythologie, illustrated by De Chirico is published. He befriends Louise de Vilmorin and leaves Rue Vignon for the Madeleine-Palace Hotel in the Place de la Madeleine.
|1935 || |
From January 19th to May 11th, "Portraits-souvenirs" is published in the Saturday edition of Le Figaro. The work will be issued in book form in January 1936. Cocteau spends the spring on the Côte d'Azur, first in Juan-les-Pins, then with Khill near Antibes; and finally, alone in Villefranche. He has difficulty working. In July, he sails with Khill aboard the Lancelot from Villefranche to Toulon for a story that will appear in Paris-Soir during August under the title "Rediscovering childhood". Back in Paris, he moves into the Hotel de Castille at 37 Rue Cambon. He spends the end of the year in Mas de Fourques at the home of Jean Hugo.
From March 29th to June 17th, in response to a project proposed by Paris-Soir publisher Jean Prouvost, Cocteau and Khill follow the example of Jules Verne's hero and travel Around the World in 80 Days. A diary of their journey appears in Paris-Soir between August 1st and September 3rd and is published in book-form in early 1937 under the title Mon premier voyage (My First Voyage). Spurred on by Gide's intervention, Cocteau and Aragon reconcile their differences. The poet spends Christmas at the Château de Briacé.
Cocteau finds the former world boxing champion Al Brown working as a musician in a cabaret. With the help of Chanel, Cocteau puts him through detox and brings him back to competitive boxing. March 2nd sees the start of "Articles de Paris" a joint project with Ce Soir. The column, which has no set theme, will run until June 1938. Whilst holding auditions for Oedipus Rex, Cocteau notices Jean Marais, a student of Raymond Rouleau. He ends up giving Marais a part in the chorus. The play's dress rehearsal is held at the Théâtre Antoine on July 12th. On September 9th, at the Salle Wagram, Al Brown steps back into the ring and triumphs by knocking out his opponent in the first round. He regains the title of world champion on March 4th 1938, then, on the advice of Cocteau, retires from boxing. On October 14th, Les Chevaliers de la Table ronde (The Knights of the Round Table) opens at the Théâtre de l'œuvre. Jean Marais plays Galahad. In December, Cocteau and Marcel Khill travel to Marseille and northern Italy. The Académie Mallarmé is founded the same month: Cocteau is immediately called to its service.
Cocteau spends February in Montargis with Jean Marais. He writes Les Parents terribles (The Storm Within) in eight days. In April, Cocteau moves in with Jean Marais at 9 Place de la Madeleine. In July, he takes Marais to Toulon to stay with set designer Coula Roppa, an avid smoker of opium. Following a police raid at the home of their hostess, all three are charged with drug trafficking. Cocteau spends August at the Hotel du Soleil in Saint-Tropez then in Pramousquier. In September, he writes L'Incendie (The Fire) a poem dedicated to Marais. Les Parents terribles (The Storm Within) premieres at the Théâtre des Ambassadeurs on November 14th. A row with the Paris city council ensues and the latter tries to ban performances of the play.
On January 4th, Les Parents terribles (The Storm Within) moves from the Ambassadeurs to the Bouffes-Parisiens. Audiences give the play and its actors (Jean Marais and Yvonne de Bray) a rapturous reception. On February 10th, the Toulon drug affair goes to court and Cocteau is convicted and ordered to pay a heavy fine. In March, Enigme is published. On April 8th, the poet takes an ailing Jean Marais to Piquey. Whilst there, Cocteau writes La Fin du Potomak (The End of Potomak). In May, at the Hotel du Parc in Versailles, he writes La Machine à écrire (The Typewriter) in five days. When war is declared on September 3rd he is in Saint-Tropez with Jean Marais. While the latter is mobilised, Cocteau remains with Chanel at the Ritz then aboard the Scarabée where he writes Les Monstres sacrés (The Holy Monsters). At Christmas, he visits Jean Marais in his unit.
Les Monstres sacrés (Holy Monsters) premières at the Théâtre Michel on February 17th. The play then moves to the Bouffes-Parisiens. The show’s curtain-raiser is Le Bel indifferent (The Indifferent Lover) played by Edith Piaf. La fin du Potomak (End of Potomak) is published. Cocteau, who has been living in the Hotel du Beaujolais since his return to Paris, rents an apartment at 36 rue de Montpensier near the gardens of the Palais-Royal. It will be his last Paris address. In June, the Exodus leads him to Perpignan. He is joined there by a newly demobilised Jean Marais. Whilst there, Cocteau learns of the death of Marcel Khill. He returns to Paris in September. In December, he goes into detox for the last time.
Despite publishing Allégories, an anthology of poems in June, Cocteau primarily focuses his attentions on the theatre. In February, he designs the sets and costumes for Feydeau's La main passe. On April 29th, the premiere of La Machine à écrire (The Typewriter) at the Théâtre Hébertot spurs virulent attacks from the collaborationist press: Rebatet and Laubreaux rage in the fascist-leaning Je suis partout. One evening in June, Jean Marais gives Laubreaux a good hiding. The play is banned. In July, an album of drawings linked to the Chevaliers de la Table ronde (Knights of the Round Table) is published. In August, it takes Cocteau just 18 days to write Renaud & Armide. In October, a revival of Les parents terribles (The Storm Within) at the Théâtre du Gymnase results in the play being banned. On December 7th, the ban is lifted and the play is received with loud applause. At the end of the year, Cocteau hires Paul Morihien as his secretary.
|1942 || |
On January 19th, the play Renaud & Armide is accepted by the Comédie-Française, but rejected by Jérôme Carcopino, the Vichy government's supervising Minister. Throughout the year, Cocteau meets frequently with Picasso, Eluard and Lise Deharme. He sees Ernst Jünger who is posted in Paris. Cocteau enters a period of intense cinematic activity: adaptation and dialogues for Marcel Lherbier's La Comédie du bonheur and dialogues for Roland Tual unhappy with Charles Spaak's screenplays for Lit à Colonnes. In early March, Cocteau begins writing a Journal. On May 15th, he attends the inauguration of an exhibition of his long-time friend, the German sculptor Arno Breker, at the Orangerie. On May 23rd, he publishes a "salute to Breker" in Comoedia and sparks intense criticism for doing so. He completes his screenplay for L'Eternel retour (The Eternal Return) and re-writes the Baron fantôme for Serge de Poligny.
|1943 || |
Mme. Cocteau dies on January 20th. On January 27th, Antigone triumphs at the Opera. Two days later, Cocteau holds a poetry recital with Serge Lifar at the Théâtre Edouard VII. On February 6th, Cocteau is filled with enthusiasm at a reading of Genet's Condamné à mort. On February 15th, he meets Genet. On April 14th, Renaud & Armide has its premiere at the Comédie-Française with Marie Bell, Mary Marquet, Maurice Escande and Jacques Dacquemine. The play is a huge success; however the collaborationist press continues to hound the author. On April 20th, Cocteau leaves for Nice for the filming of L'Eternel retour (The Eternal Return). Soon after his arrival, he develops a mild and easily-treated case of pneumonia. In August, he plays Musset in Sacha Guitry's film La Malibran. He works on a study on El Greco to be published at the end of the year as well as on a play that will become L'Aigle à deux têtes (The Eagle Has Two Heads). On August 27th, Cocteau is attacked on the Champs-Elysées by members of a security force supervising a parade of French Volunteers who have enlisted to go to the Russian Front at the side of the Nazis. In October, L'Eternel retour (The Eternal Return) is screened in three cinemas. Jean Marais is a resounding success. Cocteau leaves with Marais and Paul Morihien for Tal Moor near Pont-Aven where they are guests of the Masson-Détourbets. Whilst there, Cocteau completes L'Aigle à deux têtes (The Eagle Has Two Heads).
He finishes Léone, a poem he has been working on since 1941. His project for La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast) takes form. The death of Giraudoux on January 31st, and more particularly that of Max Jacob at the holding camp in Drancy on March 5th, deeply affects Cocteau who had made every effort to obtain the release of his friend. On April 12th, he turns down an offer to succeed Vaudoyer as director of the Comédie-Française. On June 10th, four days after the Allied landings in Normandy, he attends a lecture given by Sartre at la Loggia on the Quai Voltaire. The lecture is followed by a debate on Dramatic Style. In early July, Jean Desbordes' sister asks Cocteau to intervene to save her brother imprisoned for his activities in the Resistance. Cocteau tries but in vain: Jean Desbordes is executed on July 5th. After the liberation of Paris on August 25th, Jean Marais joins Leclerc's Free French division and on September 7th leaves for the front. From the end of August onwards, Cocteau's demeanour during the Occupation raises criticism. On November 23rd, he is summoned to appear before the collaborationist-purging Comité d'épuration du cinema. He is acquitted in minutes. He will also be acquitted when he appears before the Committee of Writers.
January sees readings of Léone by Cocteau himself, of Plein-chant (Plainsong) by Maria Casarès, and L'Ange Heurtebise (The Angel Heurtebise) by Marcel Herrand. In April, the poet writes the last page of the Journal that he started in March 1942. He and Georges Hugnet start writing poems on the tablecloths of the restaurant Le Catalan. He writes the dialogue for Bresson's Dames du bois de Boulogne (Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne). La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast) is filmed at Rochecorbon near Tours between August 26th and September 13th. The last reels are shot in the studio and at the Château de Raray near Senlis. Cocteau, who has suffered from hives and acute inflammation since early October is finally hospitalised at the Hôpital Pasteur. Whilst there, he writes La Crucifixion. He is released from the hospital on November 1st and starts filming again on November 6th. Though still afflicted with abscesses, he works until the end of the year. He keeps a journal of the filming, which will be published in January 1947 (La Belle et la Bête. Journal d'un film - Beauty and the Beast. Diary of a filming).
Filming ends on January 11th and Cocteau begins the task of editing. On February 8th, Les Parents terribles (The Storm Within) is revived at the Théâtre du Gymnase. In mid-February, concerned that Cocteau may be suffering from jaundice, Darbon takes the poet to Morzine. Whilst there, Cocteau starts work on La Difficulté d'être (The Difficulty of Being). On June 25th, his ballet Le Jeune Homme et la Mort (The Young Man and Death) premieres at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées with Jean Babilée in the lead role. From July 25th to August 24th, Cocteau rests at the spa in La Rocheposay, Poitou. Jean Marais and the Vilmorins visit him. Whilst there, the poet writes Un ami dort (A Friend Sleeps) and works on the screenplay for Ruy Blas. In October, La Cruxifixion is published and the Aigle à deux têtes (The Eagle has Two Heads) has its world premiere in Brussels. La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast) opens in Paris at the Colisée and Madeleine cinemas. The film, overlooked at the Cannes Festival in September, is awarded the Louis-Delluc Prize in December. That same month, the first volume of Cocteau's complete works is published by éditions Marguerat; the eleventh and final volume will be released in March 1951. On December 22nd, L'Aigle à deux têtes (The Eagle has Two Heads) is performed at the Théâtre Hébertot with Edwige Feuillère and Jean Marais in the leading roles.
|1947||In January, Cocteau buys a house in Milly-la-Forêt with Jean Marais; they take up residence in November. Though he writes L'Impromptu du Palais-Royal in April and draws his series of Licornes (Unicorns) in July, the greater part of the poet's output during 1947 is cinema-based: in the spring, he follows the filming of Rossellini's adaptation of La Voix humaine (The Human Voice) starring Anna Magnani, then the filming of Ruy Blas and finally, in October, the filming of L'Aigle à deux têtes (The Eagle has Two Heads). At the end of the year, he writes the screenplay for Orphée (Orpheus) and publishes La Difficulté d'être (The Difficulty of Being). In July, publisher Paul Morihien introduces him to Edouard Dermit, a young painter from Lorraine. Cocteau hires him as an assistant gardener at Milly and quickly makes him his chauffeur. |
|1948 || |
Cinema remains Cocteau's primary focus throughout the year. Ruy Blas is released in February and L'Aigle à deux têtes (The Eagle has Two Heads) in September. Les Parents terribles (The Storm Within) is shot during May and June and released in November. In September, he takes up tapestry and creates a cartoon of Judith & Holopherne. Poésie 1946-1947 is published, as well as a children's story, Drôle de ménage (Strange Household). At the end of December, Cocteau goes to New York to present L'Aigle à deux têtes (The Eagle has Two Heads), just as he had done in London in June.
Cocteau begins Lettre aux Américains (A Letter to the Americans) which will be published later that same year. From March 6th to May 24th, the stage productions of Les Parents terribles (The Storm Within), La Machine infernale (The Infernal Machine) and Les Monstres sacrés (Holy Monsters) go on tour to Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey. Jean Marais, Edouard Dermit, Yvonne de Bray and Gabrielle Dorziat are part of the troupe. A diary of the tour entitled Maalesh will be published in December. In May, the paperback compendium of his plays, Théâtre de poche, arrives in bookstores. During the summer, Cocteau adapts the Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire and he organises the Festival du Film Maudit in Biarritz. The filming of Orphée (Orpheus) gets underway in August and continues into November. By the time filming is complete Cocteau is left with a bad case of sciatica. In December, shooting begins on Melville's adaptation of Les Enfants terribles (Children of the Game). The poet meets 30-year-old Francine Weisweiller through Nicole Stéphane. An immediate and durable friendship begins. The year is also marked by the first official recognition of Cocteau and his works: on September 3rd, he is made a chevalier of the Légion d'honneur.
On March 1st, Orphée (Orphée) is screened at the Cannes Film Festival prior to its release in Paris at the end of the same month. The film will go on to receive the International Critics' Prize at the Venice Film Festival in September. In Germany, Cocteau's presentation of the film is a huge success. In May, he makes his first visit to Santo Sospir, Francine Weisweiller's villa in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. The villa will become a third home to him. Whilst there, he sets about decorating the walls. The ballet Phèdre (Phaedra) for which Cocteau wrote the libretto and designed the sets and costumes premieres at the Paris Opera on June 14th. The ballet is choreographed by Lifar with music by Auric. In July, Cocteau takes the first steps to adopt Edouard Dermit - a process that will remain incomplete at his death. During the summer, the poet travels to Italy with Francine Weisweiller and Edouard Dermit. They make a stop at the Venice Film Festival. At the end of the year, he starts painting with an easel. He becomes a true celebrity and henceforth until his death he will be asked to preside over events, to write prefaces, to illustrate programmes and to design posters…
|1951||At the beginning of the year, Cocteau records a series of radio interviews with André Fraigneau, including Entretiens autour du cinématographe - his interlocutions on the cinema. In April, he is elected president of the Union of Authors and Composers. He travels to Italy with Francine Weisweiller and Edouard Dermit, visiting Rome, Calabria and Sicily. In July, on Edouard Dermit's urging, Cocteau starts a new journal, Le Passé défini (Past Tense). In August, Dermit becomes Cocteau's sole legatee. Cocteau, who has painted profusely since the beginning of the year starts work on a new play - Bacchus. At the end of July, he returns to Santo Sospir. During the second half of August, he cruises to the Italian coast on board Francine Weisweiller's yacht, the Orphée II. From September 11th to 26th, Cocteau goes to Paris and then Milly before returning to Santo Sospir, where he stays until October 30th. Whilst there, he devotes time to painting, meets with Picasso on several occasions, works on Bacchus and prepares a new film - La Villa Santo Sospir. On December 23rd, Bacchus premieres at the Théâtre Marigny. In "A letter to Jean Cocteau" published in the December 29th edition of Le Figaro littéraire, François Mauriac attacks the play and accuses its author of blasphemy. On the 30th, Cocteau responds in France-Soir, with the article "Je t'accuse!" ("I Accuse You!"). |
In January, on a tour of Germany, Cocteau visits Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Augsburg and Munich. He presents Orphée (Orpheus) and Villa Santo Sospir. An exhibition of his drawings, paintings and tapestries opens in Munich. In February, an exhausted Cocteau returns to Santo Sospir. He sees Colette and Matisse and writes Journal d'un inconnu (Hand of a Stranger). At the end of April, he returns to Paris and Milly to prepare for the première of Oedipus Rex at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. On opening night, Stravinsky conducts the orchestra but reactions to the work are mixed. From June 10th to July 1st, Cocteau travels to Greece with Francine Weisweiller and Edouard Dermit. He writes Le Chiffre sept (The Number Seven). In September, an exhibition of his graphic works opens in Berlin. He visits Arno Breker. Le Chiffre sept is published.
An exhibition of his paintings, drawings and tapestries opens at the galerie des Ponchettes in Nice. During the second half of March, Cocteau gives a series of lectures in Turin, Genoa, Milan and Rome. Francine Weisweiller and Dermit accompany him. In April, he goes to Cannes for the Film Festival. As president of the jury, he must attend every screening. Appogiatures is published. On May 9th, Cocteau goes to Munich for the debut performance of the ballet La Dame à la licorne (The Lady and the Unicorn). On May 27th he goes to Rome for an exhibition of Picasso's works. He spends the intervening period at Milly and Paris. He returns to Santo Sospir in June and spends the month of July in Spain with the Weisweillers and Edouard Dermit. They visit Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, Malaga, Torremolinos, Grenada and Gibraltar. Cocteau attends numerous corridas and meets Manolete and Dominguin. He also discovers flamenco. During September and October, he works on poems that will be included in Clair-obscur (Twilight). He writes a presentation for the concert by the Six and attends the performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. He leaves for Madrid for the Spanish opening of the film Orphée (Orpheus). He meets Dali.
Cocteau spends the first half of January in Milly and Paris where he has numerous appointments on the radio and at the theatre. He spends a few days in Santo Sospir then, during February and March, he goes to Kitzbühl, Austria to rest. From March 18th to April 9th, he goes to Cannes for the Film Festival where again he is president of the jury. From April 28th to May 9th, Cocteau travels to Madrid and Seville and attends several corridas. On his return to Paris and Milly, he works on the Corrida du 1er mai (The Corrida of the 1st of May). On June 10th, Cocteau suffers a myocardial infarction. He is hospitalised until July 16th. He convalesces at Santo Sospir where he paints and corrects the proofs of Clair-obscur (Twilight) which will be published at the end of October. He takes an interest in flying saucers and extraterrestrials. In November, he returns to Paris and Milly. He learns the techniques of pastel.
On January 11th he is elected to Belgium's Royal Academy of French Language and Literature. On March 3rd, Cocteau is elected to succeed Jérôme Tharaud at the Académie française in the first round of voting. His induction takes place on October 20th and it is André Maurois who responds to his speech. Cocteau is in Paris during February for an exhibition of his pastels at the Galerie Lucien Weill in Rue Bonaparte. He then goes to Saint-Moritz with Francine Weisweiller. In May, an exhibition of 180 of his pastels opens in Rome. He again spends the summer at Santo Sospir.
In March, Cocteau goes to Brussels for a new production of La Machine à écrire (The Typewriter). The production will later be performed at the Comédie-Française. He begins the task of decorating the chapelle Saint-Pierre in Villefranche. In April, Poèmes 1916-1955 - a new anthology of his poetry - is published. On June 12th he is made a Doctor honoris causa of Oxford University. On his return to Paris, he records Les Entretiens sur le musée de Dresde (Discussions on the Museum of Dresden) with Aragon. The recordings will be released the following year. He returns to Santo Sospir where he remains until early November. From September 27th to October 31st an exhibition of his photographs entitled Images de Jean Cocteau goes on show at the Galerie Henri Matarasso in Nice. An album of the exhibition is published. Cocteau continues decorating the Chapelle Saint-Pierre and agrees to decorate the registry office at Menton Town Hall. At the end of November, he returns to Paris and Milly for a month. He spends Christmas at Santo Sospir.
Cocteau finishes decorating the chapelle Saint-Pierre. He learns to make pottery at the Madeline-Jolly studio in Villefranche. A period of new poetic research results in Paraprosodies. He attends bullfights in Nîmes and in Arles with Picasso.
Cocteau's sister Marthe dies on January 13th. At Santo Sospir, he works on Testament d'Orphée (Testament of Orpheus) despite the difficulties finding financing for the project. Paraprosodies précédées de 7 dialogues (Para-prosodies preceded by 7 dialogues) is published. He travels to Rome in mid-April, Paris in early June, then to Vienna for a production of Oedipus Rex, conducted by Karajan. In July, he goes to Venice with Edouard Dermit and Francine Weisweiller. Whilst there, he takes a training course at a Murano glass factory. He returns to Paris for the November 14th opening of an exhibition of his pottery at the Galerie Lucie Weill. At the end of December, he returns to Santo Sospir.
During rehearsals for a production of La Voix humaine (The Human Voice) in Nice, Cocteau contracts haemoptysis and is ordered to rest. As a result, he is unable to attend performances of the ballet La Dame à la licorne (The Lady and the Unicorn) at the Paris Opera, and La Voix humaine (The Human Voice) with Denise Duval at the Opéra-Comique. He starts to write Le Requiem in bed. Poésie critique I (Critical Poetry I) and Gondole des morts (Gondola of the Dead) are published. He spends a period of convalescence in Saint-Moritz before returning to Paris for Edouard Dermit's first exhibition of paintings at the Galerie Montmorency. Back in Milly, he embarks on a project to decorate the Chapelle Saint-Blaise-des-Simples. He then returns to Santo Sospir until early July. In September, he begins shooting Testament d'Orphée (Testament of Orpheus) first in Les Baux-de-Provence then in Nice. On November 4th, he plays the role of narrator in the London production of Oedipus Rex. The performance is conducted by Stravinsky. He remains in London to decorate the church of Notre-Dame-de-France. He returns to Milly on November 21st and spends Christmas and New Year at Santo Sospir.
A second volume of critical poetry - Poésie critique II- is published. On February 10th, Le Testament d'Orphée (Testament of Orpheus) is screened in Paris. Cocteau travels to Saint-Moritz. On April 23rd, the chapel in Milly is inaugurated, followed on May 6th by the church in London. In June, Cocteau is elected to succeed Paul Fort as prince of poets - an event that sparks a rancorous debate that will last throughout the summer and only be diffused when Aragon publicly supports Cocteau's appointment in the October 20th issue of Les Lettres françaises. He spends July and August in Spain with Edouard Dermit, Dermit's sister Emilienne, Francine Weisweiller and her daughter Carole. On July 31st, he attends a bullfight featuring Dominguin in Cordoba. On October 3rd, Jérôme Killty's play Cher menteur (Dear Liar) which was adapted by Cocteau premieres at the Athénée. After a trip to Sweden he visits Warsaw to present Le Testament d'Orphée (Testament of Orpheus). During November and December, an exhibition of his complete graphic works is held at the musée des Beaux-Arts in Nancy. He spends the second half of December in Santo Sospir.
In January and February, Jean Delannoy directs La Princesse de Clèves (Princess of Cleves). The shooting script for the film was written by Cocteau in 1944. At around the same time, the poet begins the Innamorati, a series of sketches in coloured pencil. Le Cérémonial espagnol du phénix (The Spanish Ceremonial of the Phoenix) and La Partie d'échecs (The Chess Game) are both published. On March 1st, Cocteau is promoted to the rank of Commander of the Légion d'honneur. He spends April and May in Marbella. He writes Le Cordon ombilical (The Umbilical Cord) and completes six panels which he paints with rollers. From the beginning of August to the end of September, he makes a second trip to Marbella. The rest of his time is spent between Paris, Milly and Santo Sospir. He works on Requiem and at the end of the year he edits a second version of L'Impromptu du Palais-Royal. On December 3rd, his brother Paul dies.
Despite his failing health, Cocteau's workload remains intense. In January, he spends a few days in Munich to present L'Aigle à deux têtes (The Eagle has Two Heads). In March, he follows the rehearsals of L'Impromptu du Palais-Royal which will have its première in Tokyo on May 1st. At the same time an exhibition in his honour opens in the Japanese capital. At the end of the month, Requiem is published. He spends from June to September in Santo Sospir. Whilst there, he decorates the open-air theatre in Cap-d'Ail. On August 16th, he attends a bullfight in Fréjus with Picasso. In September, he travels to Metz where he makes 12 stained glass windows. He also designs the sets and costumes for the revival of Pelléas & Mélisande in Barcelona in February 1963. During the first week of October, Cocteau goes to Vevey to record L'Histoire du soldat with Markevitch. He spends the end of the year between Milly and Santo Sospir. Picasso 1916-1961 is published featuring 24 lithographs by the painter.
Cocteau spends January and February in Paris and Milly. Arno Breker visits him and sculpts busts of both him and Jean Marais. Soon after, Cocteau returns to Santo Sospir. Soon after, following a quarrel with Francine Weisweiller, he will leave the villa and never return. In April, he records Portrait souvenir for television in Milly. On April 22nd, he suffers another, more serious heart attack and is hospitalised. He convalesces at the home of Jean Marais in Marnes-la-Coquette. He is unable to attend performances of L'Impromptu du Palais-Royal at the Comédie-Française and Pelléas & Mélisande at the Opéra-Comique, which features his sets and costumes. He returns to Milly on July 5th. On October 11th, one hour after learning of Edith Piaf's death, Jean Cocteau passes away. His body is embalmed on the 12th and laid to rest in Saint-Blaise-hors-les-Murs in Milly on the 16th. On April 24th 1964, his remains are transferred inside the church.
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