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The Infernal Machine and Other Plays

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,121 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Among the great figures who pioneered the modern movement in world literature, none showed himself more versatile than France's Jean Cocteau. Poet, novelist, critic, artist, actor, film-maker, Cocteau was also one of the greatest dramatists Europe has produced, with over a dozen plays which are frequently revived, not only ion France, but in translation in many other count ...more
Paperback, English Edition, 409 pages
Published January 17th 1964 by New Directions (first published January 1st 1950)
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Czarny Pies
Aug 30, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who find it on their course reading list.
Recommended to Czarny by: It was on a course reading list.
Shelves: french-lit
Cocteau has aged badly. His surrealistic retelling of Oedipus Rex has aged badly. These plays show only that you don't need to go too far with Freud before you have gone too far.

I would however be tempted to see the Infernal Machine in the theatre. Clever directors can sometimes breath life into dead horses.

Lu en francais
S.D. Johnson
Re-reading The Oedipus Cycle of Sophocles before this work, which is a retelling of Oedipus Rex, I found that Cocteau's attempt truly paled in comparison, & neither was it nearly as good as Les Enfants Terribles by him which I read awhile ago. There are some truly funny moments, such as the ghost of Laïus declaring that "les remparts étaient l'endroit le plus favorable aux apparitions des personnes mortes de mort violente, à cause des égouts". (The ramparts are the most favorable place for a ...more
Aug 02, 2015 Kim rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
There's not much to really tell about "The Infernal Machine" - a retelling of "Oedipus the King", with the addition of a few new characters, including Anubis. Honestly, there might be something lost in the reading of this play as opposed to seeing it performed, as the text fell really flat to me. The exploration of the Sphinx is the only thing that really sticks out to me, and, at times, she can come across as nonsensical. Overall, it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't fantastic, either.
May 18, 2007 Bailey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rassias fans
I love how playful Cocteau is - as seen in this book and "Beauty and the Beast." If you know the Oedipus story you'll think this is hilarious.
Dec 11, 2012 C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On one hand I do feel as though these French re-doings of the Theban plays do go over my head somewhat. On the other, I really enjoy seeing a new spin put on the personalities of each character. This was very well done, and highly enjoyable.
Jul 23, 2015 Rea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, theatre
Studied in 2004.

Really enjoyed this one! One of the few books we read that year that actually resonated with me.
We did a performance of the play. I had the role of Anubis. Was great fun!
Feb 07, 2010 Andrew rated it it was ok
i'm not going to finish this book. the infernal machine and orpheus were good. the wedding at the eiffel tower was not, and i can't get into arthur or bacchus.
Jul 24, 2009 Tora rated it really liked it
for me, it was all about the Infernal Machine. An old story retold time and time throughout the ages, but i loved the surrealness of Cocteau's interpretation. Mmmmm.
Agoaye Leblog
Jan 11, 2016 Agoaye Leblog rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Je m'y suis vue. Que j'aime cette tragédie...
Inspiré de Sophocle, Cocteau nous rappelle l'humanité d'Œdipe, de Jocaste et de la petite Antigone.
Carolane Vallée
What I thought... Well, it's surely a book who made me smile, but also, helped me to understand the story of <>.
Aug 23, 2014 adeline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A funny and clever reinterpretation of the Oedipe myth.
Several nice references to other famous play (like Hamlet)
Denise M
Aug 11, 2013 Denise M rated it really liked it
Read this in high-school. I loved Cocteau then and still love to read great quotations from his works.
Une réécriture brillante d'Oedipus Rex, teintée de surréalisme. Mais je me suis ennuyé à la lire...
Jun 12, 2007 Meredith rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: etudiants de la langue francaise
J'aurais mieux compris ceci si je l'ai vu au theatre, mais c'etais tres interessant quand meme.
magistral. a really beautifull piece.
Oedipus in the most absurd way
Dec 19, 2009 Lisa rated it it was amazing
The Infernal Machine, and Other Plays. by Jean Cocteau (1964)
Sep 25, 2010 M-AY rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bouquins
Cocteau revisitant le mythe d'Oedipe...
Dec 01, 2010 M.moore rated it it was amazing
Never have I read a greater poet--
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Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (5 July 1889 – 11 October 1963) was a French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, boxing manager, playwright and filmmaker. Along with other Surrealists of his generation (Jean Anouilh and René Char for example) Cocteau grappled with the "algebra" of verbal codes old and new, mise en scène language and technologies of modernism to create a paradox: a classical a ...more
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“Regarde, spectateur, remontée à bloc, de telle sorte que le ressort se déroule avec lenteur tout le long d'une vie humaine, une des plus parfaites machines construites par les dieux infernaux pour l'anéantissement mathématique d'un mortel.” 0 likes
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