Sunday, October 09, 2011

Jean Cocteau: Diary of an Unknown

Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) never did stay glued to one particular genre, though "poésie" permeated prominently, in films, plays, opera, photography, nonfiction, you name it.

I've been carrying around this damned book for years. Saved it. For reading. I read it. Finally.

The book? Jean Cocteau's Diary of an Unknown / Journal d'un inconnu (1953, 1988, 1991*) translated by Jesse Browner.

*(Which means I've had it in the reading pipeline since living in Philadelphia. Since the Gulf War of 1991. How many wars ago was that? How many decades, centuries?)

Here's a little snippet: "Poetry is a religion without hope. The poet exhausts himself in its service, knowing that, in the long run, a masterpiece is nothing but the performance of a trained dog on very shaky ground" (page 9).

And another: "I find it remarkable that we can have any sort of communication with others. For they perceive only those parts of us that correspond to their level [and vice versa]" (page 121).

"If the contents of our memory were able to materialize and roam about, they would clutter up the entire world" (page 149).

"It is likely that nothing has an ending or a beginning" (page 170).

Today's Rune: Harvest.

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