Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of thoughts and quotations by Jean Cocteau on home, humor, death, addiction, art, poetry, opium, dreams, spirituality, writing, drugs and painting.

83 Notable Jean Cocteau Quotes We Can Learn From

Quick Facts

Famous As: Novelist, Poet, Artist & Filmmaker

Born On: July 5, 1889

Died On: October 11, 1963

Born In: Maisons-Laffitte

Died At Age: 74

Jean Maurice Eugene Clement Cocteau, renowned as Jean Cocteau, was a French playwright, author, film maker, designer and artist who rose to prominence in the 20th century and is regarded as one of the finest minds of the era. Cocteau was a prodigious talent and his first work, a collection of poems titled ‘Aladdin’s Lamp’ was published when he was only 19 years. However, his skills went beyond literature and he became a noted film maker and screen writer of his time. Some of the most famous films that he made include ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Les Parents Terribles’, ‘Blood of a Poet’ and ‘Orpheus’ among others. Among the novels that he wrote, ‘Les Enfants Terribles’ was the most famous one and remains a popular book to this day. Cocteau was a multi-faceted individual who seemed to shine in almost any creative field in which he tried his hand on. He also made a mark as a poetry illustrator. We bring to you his finest sayings, thoughts and quotations which have been extracted from his novels, poems, books, films and writings. Here is a collection of these thoughts and quotes from Jean Cocteau that would give you a glimpse into his unique mind.

Living is a horizontal fall.

Jean Cocteau

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.

Jean Cocteau

Mirrors should think longer before they reflect.

Jean Cocteau

Here I am trying to live, or rather, I am trying to teach the death within me how to live.

Jean Cocteau

What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.

Jean Cocteau

The prettiest dresses are worn to be taken off.

Jean Cocteau

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

Jean Cocteau

Art is science made clear.

Jean Cocteau

If a poet has a dream, it is not of becoming famous, but of being believed.

Jean Cocteau

We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?

Jean Cocteau

The day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, without hurrying.

Jean Cocteau

There's no such thing as love; only proof of love.

Jean Cocteau

The poet doesn't invent. He listens.

Jean Cocteau

I am a lie that always speaks the truth.

Jean Cocteau

An artist cannot speak about his art anymore than a plant can discuss horticulture.

Jean Cocteau

I am burning myself up and will always do so.

Jean Cocteau

Listen carefully to first criticisms made of your work. Note just what it is about your work that critics don't like - then cultivate it. That's the only part of your work that's individual and worth keeping.

Jean Cocteau

All spiritual journeys are martyrdoms

Jean Cocteau

Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.

Jean Cocteau

I'm not willing just to be tolerated. That wounds my love of love and of liberty.

Jean Cocteau

A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.

Jean Cocteau

Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.

Jean Cocteau

It is excruciating to be an unbeliever with a spirit that is deeply religious.

Jean Cocteau

The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order.

Jean Cocteau

One of the characteristics of the dream is that nothing surprises us in it. With no regret, we agree to live in it with strangers, completely cut off from our habits and friends.

Jean Cocteau

I've always preferred mythology to history. History is truth that becomes an illusion. Mythology is an illusion that becomes reality.

Jean Cocteau

The smell of opium is the least stupid smell in the world.

Jean Cocteau

Victor Hugo was a madman who thought he was Victor Hugo

Jean Cocteau

Lack of manners is the sign of a hero.

Jean Cocteau

When I write, I disturb. When I show a film, I disturb. When I exhibit my painting, I disturb, and I disturb if I don't. I have a knack for disturbing.

Jean Cocteau

A little too much is just enough for me.

Jean Cocteau

One should always talk well about oneself! The word spreads around and in the end, noone remembers where it started

Jean Cocteau

What uniform can I wear to hide my heavy heart? It is too heavy. It will always show.

Jean Cocteau

Without opium, plans, marriages and journeys appear to me just as foolish as if someone falling out of a window were to hope to make friends with the occupants of the room before which he passes.

Jean Cocteau

Statues to great men are made of the stones thrown at them in their lifetime.

Jean Cocteau

An original artist is unable to copy. So he has only to copy in order to be original.

Jean Cocteau

All good music resembles something. Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it.

Jean Cocteau

True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing.

Jean Cocteau

A man's truest self realizations might require him, above all, to learn to close his eyes: to let himself be taken unawares, to follow his dark angel, to risk his illegal instincts.

Jean Cocteau

I succeeded in bewitching a fair number and in being intoxicated with my mistakes.

Jean Cocteau

I believe in luck: how else can you explain the success of those you don't like?

Jean Cocteau

I only fear the death of others. For me, true death is that of the people I love

Jean Cocteau

Mystery has its own mysteries, and there are gods above gods. We have ours, they have theirs. That is what's known as infinity.

Jean Cocteau

We are in a period of such individualism that one no longer speaks of disciples; one speaks of thieves.

Jean Cocteau

May the devil himself splatter you with dung.

Jean Cocteau

Watch yourself all your life in a mirror and you'll see Death at work like bees in a glass hive.

Jean Cocteau

There is an angel inside me whom I am constantly shocking.

Jean Cocteau

Catastrophe, riots, factories blowing up, armies in flight, flood - the ear can detect a whole apocalypse in the starry night of the human body.

Jean Cocteau

It is excruciating to be an unbeliever with a spirit that is deeply religious... Poetry is a religion without hope.

Jean Cocteau

Poetry, being elegance itself, cannot hope to achieve visibility. It insists on living its own life.

Jean Cocteau

The purity of a revolution can last a fortnight. That is why a poet, the revolutionary of the soul, limits himself to the about-turns of the mind.

Jean Cocteau

Youth can only assert itself through the conviction that its ventures surpass all others and resemble nothing.

Jean Cocteau

It is dangerous not to conform with people's image of us, because they do not readily retract their opinions.

Jean Cocteau

The map of our life is folded in such a way that we cannot see one main road across it, but as it is opened out, we are constantly seeing new side roads. We think we are choosing, and we have no choice.

Jean Cocteau

I grant you that, if you'll admit, as I do, that we are pawns of an unknown force that lives within us that dictates our actions and compels us to speak this language.

Jean Cocteau

Die meisten Menschen leben in den Ruinen ihrer Gewohnheiten.

Jean Cocteau

We only serve as a model to the portrait of our fame

Jean Cocteau

The obstinate miner of the void exploits his fertile mine

Jean Cocteau

The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood.

Jean Cocteau

You’ve never seen death? Look in the mirror every day and you will see it like bees working in a glass hive.

Jean Cocteau

Imitate, and what is personal will eventually come despite yourself.

Jean Cocteau

Emotion resulting from a work of art is only of value when it is not obtained by sentimental blackmail.

Jean Cocteau

He who is affected by an insult is infected by it.

Jean Cocteau

We shelter an angel within us. We must be the guardians of that angel.

Jean Cocteau

Without resistance you can do nothing.

Jean Cocteau

Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.

Jean Cocteau

A film is a petrified fountain of thought.

Jean Cocteau

Čudo, ako potraje, prestaje da bude čudo.Zato priviđenja tako brzo i nestaju.

Jean Cocteau

Gute Erziehung besteht darin, dass man verbirgt, wieviel man von sich selber hlt und wie wenig von den anderen.

Jean Cocteau

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.

Jean Cocteau

What is style? Saying complicated things in a simple way.

Jean Cocteau

Classifiable things reek of death. You must strike out in other spheres . . . quit the ranks. That's the sign of masterpieces and heroes. An original, that's the person to astonish and to rule.

Jean Cocteau

When I make a film, it is a sleep in which I am dreaming.

Jean Cocteau

I suppose the artists invented the firm breasts they put on women, and that in reality all women had flabby ones.

Jean Cocteau

One of the characteristics of the dream is that nothing surprises us in it.

Jean Cocteau

Plant it It will sprout But forget about the rustic festivities For the explosive word falls harmlessly eternal through the compact generations

Jean Cocteau

The poet never asks for admiration; he wants to be believed.

Jean Cocteau

Asking an artist to talk about his work is like asking a plant to discuss horticulture.

Jean Cocteau

[W]e have a tendency to judge others according to ourselves.

Jean Cocteau

A picture neither saddening nor gladdening I fear; neither beautiful nor ugly.

Jean Cocteau