The Kiss — Jean Cocteau

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The Kiss, 1955 by Jean Cocteau (1889-1963)

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Three Books

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The Holy Terrors by Jean Cocteau. Translated from the French by Rosamond Lehman. Trade paperback by New Directions (ninth printing). Illustrations throughout by Cocteau. The cover design by David Ford adapts one of Cocteau’s original illustrations. I wish I had read this book when I was much younger than when I did read this book.

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The Hospital Ship by Martin Bax. First edition trade paperback from New Directions. Cover illustration by Michael Foreman, cover design by Gertrude Huston. The Hospital Ship is a cult novel with a cult so small that I’m not sure it exists, exactly. I wrote about the novel here a few years back.

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The Lime Twig by John Hawkes. Trade paperback by New Directions (sixteenth printing). Cover by Rudolph de Harak. I still haven’t read The Lime Twig so I picked it up the other day. If I had read it I could say, “These books are black and white and read all over.” (Forgive me forgive me forgive me…).

Self-Portrait (In a letter to Paul Valéry) — Jean Cocteau

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Caricature of Igor Stravinsky Playing The Rite of Spring — Jean Cocteau

Testament of Orpheus — Jean Cocteau (Full Film)

“Will You Be My Wife?” (Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast)

Cocteau et le Sphinx — Lucien Clergue

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“The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order” — Jean Cocteau

The Blood of a Poet — Jean Cocteau (Full Film)

Radio Transmission (Cocteau’s Orphée)

Books Acquired, 10.11.2011

20111011-180342.jpgA nice little gang today: First up is Barry Hannah’s short novel Ray, which I ordered from my favorite local bookstore last week. (On a side note, said bookstore was robbed this week for cash—no books were stolen).20111011-180425.jpg

I found Jean Cocteau’s Les Enfants Terribles somewhat randomly, hunting through the “Co”s for something by Dennis Cooper. Sample illustration—

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Roberta Allen’s The Dreaming Girl  is forthcoming from Ellipsis Press; the book looks pretty cool and I’ll dip into it tonight. It actually was sent to my old abode, but the folks who live there now are kind people and alerted me. Some serendipity perhaps. Here’s Ken Foster (Village Voice) on The Dreaming Girl:

Told in a series of elliptical tableaux and bound by stream of consciousness, Roberta Allen’s The Dreaming Girl is an example of everything that shouldn’t work, and yet it does. Like a literary descendant of Duras, Allen places her unnamed narrator in an exotic Central American limbo that propels her mind into a mesmerizing state somewhere between memory and fantasy.

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“It Comes Straight from Freud” — Tom McCarthy Talks about His Novel C

The National Post profiles Tom McCarthy about his new novel C. Here are a few choice lines from McCarthy–

  • “I think the historical thing is a red herring. I don’t see C as a historical novel. I see it as completely contemporary. It’s about media and our relation to media and to emerging new media and to networks.”
  • “It comes straight from Freud. Trauma is the condition of our identity. Trauma is the most basic condition of our existence.”
  • “It’s a dual trauma, Serge’s seduction by Sophie his sister and then the loss of the sister.”
  • “The way I got the idea with the book was I had a long-standing fascination with this movie by Jean Cocteau, Orphée, his retelling of the Orpheus myth.”
  • “Orpheus in this movie interfaces with the underworld via a radio and what he picks up are the voices of the dead poets.”

From Cocteau’s Orphée–