COCTEAU, Jean (1889-1963)

Autograph letter signed “Jean C” to Henri Duvernois
[Ville de Monts] Indre-et-Loire, 26 September 1913, 1 p. in-8

“I have a hundred eyes to read Nounette

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COCTEAU, Jean (1889-1963)

Autograph letter signed “Jean C” to Henri Duvernois
[Ville de Monts] Indre-et-Loire, 26 September 1913, 1 p. in-8
Autograph address on verso, annotation on upper margin from another hand

Scarce letter from young Jean Cocteau in which he gets back in details on Henri Duvernois’s latest work : Nounette où la déesse aux cent bouches


Mon cher Henri,
J’ai cent yeux pour lire Nounette [où la déesse aux cent bouches] et je coudrai cent bouches pour la louer. Le “drôle” y est incomparable. Les “je le crain, mon enfant”, “il va pleuvoir” de Mr Hurlu et “lorsque je le veux” des vers que récite madame sont définitifs. La tendresse lucide me semble encore le meilleir. Incognito regorge de poésie ; d’exactitude, et si je me revoir avec Mad. Carlier, “Castiglione” pour la vie, avec un loulou noir, un kaléidoscope (!), et une brosse à dents. […] PS: J’adore la fin du restaurant momfié. Jean C.


Jean Cocteau was born into a wealthy and important Parisian family that supported his artistic career, although some biographies suggest that his fortune would have allowed him to leave his parents’ home on his 15th birthday. He published his first collection of poems on his own account, The Lamp of Aladdin inspired by the Thousand and One Nights, in 1909 and became known in bohemian artistic circles as the “Frivolous Prince”. It was under this title that he published his second collection of poems in 1910.
Later his meeting with Serge Diaghilev, whom he wanted to amaze, marked the first crisis in his creative work: He renounced his collections of poems and approached the Cubist and Futurist avant-garde.