Jean Cocteau

5 Jul 1889 // 1963
Poet, / Novelist / Dramatist


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When a work appears to be ahead of its time, it is only the time that is behind the work
What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you
Wealth is an inborn attitude of mind, like poverty. The pauper who has made his pile may flaunt his spoils, but cannot wear them plausibly
True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing
There are truths which one can only say after having won the right to say them
There are too many souls of wood not to love those wooden characters who do indeed have a soul
The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood
The reward of art is not fame or success but intoxication: that is why so many bad artists are unable to give it up
The poet never asks for admiration; he wants to be believed
The poet doesn't invent. He listens
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."