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The Paris theater world, the hot literary gossip, scenes of domestic life, and the inner workings of two of France’s most notorious free spirits.
Generally reckoned to be one of the most fascinating correspondences of the last century, this exchange of letters from 1863 to 1876 is unique in the history of French literature. Never have two great writers set down their ideas so candidly and over so long a period of time on the most varied topics, including the genesis of their own writings. The elements of this correspondence have been available for over a century, but never in a form accessible to the general reader. For this edition, Alphonse Jacob has re-created the atmosphere in which the letters were written and has revived this masterpiece by two of France’s greatest novelists: their intimate correspondence.
The contradictions and paradoxes of Jean Cocteau, poet, novelist, playwright, and film-maker, can be called a deliberate scandal. The generosity and the egomania, the poise and the anguish of an opium-addicted homosexual, a man who knew everyone that mattered in the arts, and who climaxed an avant-garde life by entering, without seeming contradiction, the formidable conservative precincts of the Academie Francaise—all this is elegantly woven by Mr. Steegmuller into the tapestry of this award-winning and riveting biography.