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

83 Notable Jean Cocteau Quotes We Can Learn From

Famous As: French Author and Artist Who Was One of the Foremost Creatives of the 'Surrealist', 'Avant-Garde', and 'Dadaist' Movements.
Born On: July 5, 1889
Died On: October 11, 1963
Born In: Maisons-Laffitte, France
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.
Listed In:
Living is a horizontal fall.

Living is a horizontal fall.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Jean Cocteau
The prettiest dresses are worn to be taken off.

The prettiest dresses are worn to be taken off.

Jean Cocteau
Be yourself. The world worships the original.

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

Jean Cocteau
Art is science made clear.

Art is science made clear.

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

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?

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.

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.

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

Jean Cocteau
The poet doesn't invent. He listens.

The poet doesn't invent. He listens.

Jean Cocteau
I am a lie that always speaks the truth.

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.

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.

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.

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

All spiritual journeys are martyrdoms

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

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

Jean Cocteau
Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.

Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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
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.

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.

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.

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

Victor Hugo was a madman who thought he was Victor Hugo

Jean Cocteau
Lack of manners is the sign of a hero.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Die meisten Menschen leben in den Ruinen ihrer Gewohnheiten.

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

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

Jean Cocteau
The obstinate miner 
of the void 
exploits 
his fertile mine

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

Jean Cocteau
Without resistance you can do nothing.

Without resistance you can do nothing.

Jean Cocteau
Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.

Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.

Jean Cocteau
A film is a petrified fountain of thought.

A film is a petrified fountain of thought.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

[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.

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

Jean Cocteau