Les Enfants Terribles
Breathtakingly beautiful Cocteau's style illuminates the themes of teenage friendship and love, jealousy and cruelty, his imagination creating grotesque and twisted but eminently fascinating and haunting images.
Les Enfants Terribles is so French that it should be wearing a beret and a stripey shirt. It's got that faux-lofty, surrealist, mime-stuck-in-a-box feel to it. Annoying, basically, not to mention claustrophobic, g...more
Orphaned through a stroke of magical surrealism, Elisabeth and Paul end up keeping house together as teens in 1920s Paris. Much like Pippi Longstocking lording it in Villa Vellikulla, Elisabeth and Paul, unencumbered by crass considerations such as money, schooling, or other boring quotidian w...more
The central obsession-immolation dynamic (these siblings are like an implicitly incestuous Wuthering Heights -- the center cannot hold and will take everyone else with it) is essentially obvious from the very start, but this is still...more
The book tells a story of Paul and Elisabeth, siblings who love each other violently and make a game of bullying each other and their friends. The view of narration varies throughout the book, which gives a wholesome look to the situation, but is also a...more
Gorgeous sentence after gorgeous sentence took my breath away.The translation by Rosamond Lehmann is a work of art and cocteau's illustrations throughout the book a delight. The book is short at only 183 pages and i could have gobbled it up very quickly but....i took my time and (don't laugh) indulged in all things french and impressionist for the week (Debussy's syrinx even found its way...more
Still, this is no bad thing. This entire novella reads like a kind of beautiful nightmare, full of strange images, menacing metaphors, and pre-Freudian psychologies.
What I liked best about it, though, was the pitch-perfect representation of child consciousness. Not idyllic, not angelic, not scatter-brained and lisping - but cunning, self-absorbed, trivial, co...more
Jean Cocteau. Les Enfants Terribles. I can't remember now why Jean Cocteau is so phenomenal. Is it the Dada movement? Surrealism? I am reading the Holy Terrors now, and even in translation he writes in a full-of-import way. I think, in old age, I'm becoming jaded. Yes, children can be beasts. Often are. Cocteau is writing about childhood, adolescents, t...more
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It is too heavy. It will always show.
Jacques felt himself growing gloomy again. He was well aware that to live on earth a man must follow its fashions, and hearts were no longer worn.”