Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Biographical Sketch

Scope and Contents

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Sources:

Description of Series

Series I. Works, 1910-1929, nd

Series II. Correspondence, 1913-1959, nd

Series III. Personal, 1908-1950, nd

Series IV. Third-Party Works and Correspondence, 1905-1925, nd

University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Jean Cocteau:

An Inventory of His Papers in the Carlton Lake Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center



Creator: Cocteau, Jean, 1889-1963
Title: Jean Cocteau Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1905-1959
Bulk Dates: (bulk 1910-1928)
Abstract: The early personal and professional life of the French poet, novelist, artist, playwright, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau is documented in this collection of manuscripts, correspondence, personal papers, notebooks, drawings, financial and legal documents, and third-party papers, drawn largely from his personal archives.
RLIN Record #: TXRC06-A11
Quantity: 11 boxes (4.62 linear feet), 6 oversize folders, 1 bound volume, and 1 galley folder
Language: All materials are in French.
Note: We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which provided funds for the processing and cataloging of this collection.
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Biographical Sketch

Jean Cocteau, one of the most versatile creative artists of the twentieth century, achieved celebrity as poet, playwright, journalist, novelist, artist, and filmmaker. At the time of his death he was perhaps the best-known French literary figure outside of France.

Born Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau on July 5, 1889, he was a child of affluence, particularly through the Lecomtes on the maternal side of his family. He began writing poetry as a boy and gained entrance into the literary world through his mother's social contacts. At age eighteen his work was the subject of a public reading that brought him his first notoriety, leading to the publication of his first book of poems, La lampe d'Aladin (1909).

In the next few years he met and was influenced by members of the avant-garde, resulting in less traditional works such as the ballet Parade (1917) in collaboration with Erik Satie, Léonide Massine, Sergei Diaghilev, and Pablo Picasso, Le Potomak (1919), a collection of drawings, poetry, and prose, and the poems of Le Cap de Bonne-Espérance (1919).

Cocteau's art received further stimulation from his intense love for the gifted young poet Raymond Radiguet. Their affair ended with Radiguet's death from typhoid at age twenty, but not before the younger poet had guided Cocteau away from modernism and toward a more classical formality.

In the years between the two world wars, Cocteau wrote his first novel ( Le grand écart, 1923), his first nonmusical play ( Antigone, 1922), and his first film ( Le sang d'un poète, 1932). For the rest of his life, in spite of his struggles with opium addiction, he continued to produce an enormous quantity of work and maintained his public prominence.

In 1949 Cocteau was made Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur. In 1955 he was elected to the Académie Royale de Langue et de Littérature Françaises of Belgium and also to the Académie Française.

He died October 11, 1963, and is buried in the chapel of Saint-Blaise-des-Simples in Milly-la-Forêt, France.

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Scope and Contents

The personal and professional life of French poet, novelist, artist, playwright, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau is reflected in the Carlton Lake collection of Cocteau's manuscripts, correspondence, personal papers, notebooks, drawings, financial and legal documents, and third-party papers. The collection is arranged in four series: I. Works, 1910-1929 (6.5 boxes); II. Correspondence, 1913-1959 (2.5 boxes); III. Personal, 1908-1950 (1 box); and IV. Third-Party Works and Correspondence, 1905-1925 (1 box).

The bulk of the collection is a large portion of Cocteau's personal archives that was sold without his permission to a French dealer in 1935. (For a detailed history of the papers, see chapter nine of Lake's Confessions of a Literary Archaeologist.) Because the papers went to the dealer in several small lots, it has not been possible to be certain of Cocteau's original arrangement. Therefore, works have been arranged alphabetically by title and correpondence alphabetically by correspondent.

Within the Works series are manuscripts or proofs of most of Cocteau's writings until about 1928, a period that encompassed some of his best work, including Le Cap de Bonne-Espérance, Le coq et l'arlequin, Les enfants terribles, Le grand écart, Le livre blanc, Les mariés de la tour Eiffel, La noce massacrée, Le Potomak, and Thomas l'imposteur. Many of the manuscripts and notebooks also contain drawings. Because the bulk of the archives predates Cocteau's involvement with the cinema, that aspect of his work is largely not documented.

Within the Correspondence series, the folder of Cocteau's letters to Henri Lefebvre is actually the dossier of Lefebvre's dealings with Cocteau and the sellers of Cocteau's papers (this is the file referred to in Lake's Confessions by the title "Affaire Cocteau"). Cocteau's letterswhich frequently concern his writing, his philosophy, and his personal life'are, like his works, sprinkled with drawings. Prominent among his correspondents are Jean and Valentine Hugo, Max Jacob, Marie Laurencin, and Francis Poulenc.

The Personal series includes inscriptions from other authors to Cocteau on tear-sheets, address books, an autograph book from the beginning of his career, and various documents such as his birth certificate, plans for the decoration of his apartment, and a menu from a dinner at Le Boeuf sur le Toit.

Among the Third-Party Works and Correspondence are letters from Cocteau's mother to Valentine Hugo, and works by Raymond Radiguet as well as letters to him from various correspondents.

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Restrictions

Access:

Open for research. Permission from copyright holder must accompany photoduplication requests for Jean Cocteau materials.

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Index Terms

Correspondents
Cocteau, Eugénie, b. 1855.
Hugo, Jean, 1894- .
Hugo, Valentine, 1887-1968.
Jacob, Max, 1876-1944.
Laurencin, Marie, 1883-1956.
Poulenc, Francis, 1899-1963.
Radiguet, Raymond, 1903-1923.
Subjects
Novelists, French.
Poets, French.
Document Types
Address books.
Autograph albums.
Birth certificates.
Galley proofs.
Page proofs.

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Related Material

Elsewhere in the Ransom Center, the Lake Art Collection contains a large number of works by Cocteau.

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Administrative Information

Acquisition:

Gifts and purchases, 1966, 1969, 1973, 1977, 1987, 1997 (G846, G2793, G2966, R5180, R5374, R5883, R7748, G10713)

Processed by:

Monique Daviau, Catherine Stollar, Richard Workman, 2004

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Sources:

Lake, Carlton. Confessions of a Literary Archaeologist. New York: New Directions, 1990.

Moulaison, Glenn. "Jean Cocteau. "Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 258: Modern French Poets. http://www.galegroup.com (accessed May 19, 2004).

Steegmuller, Francis. Cocteau: A Biography. Boston: Little, Brown, 1970.

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Jean Cocteau Papers--Folder List

 

Series I. Works, 1910-1929, nd

Box-Folder
39.3 A-B
Box-Folder
39.4 Art poétique (Version définitive), handwritten signed manuscript in notebook, 1916
Box-Folder
39.5 C
Le Cap de Bonne-Espérance (1919)
Box-Folder
39.6-7 Handwritten manuscripts with revisions 1915-1917, nd
Box-Folder
39.8 "Dédicace," handwritten manuscript, three versions, 1916, nd
Box-Folder
39.9 Typed manuscript and carbon copy, 1917
Box-Folder
39.10 Typed carbon copy, nd
Box-Folder
40.1 First page proofs with handwritten manuscript page and correspondence with printer laid in, 1918, nd
Box-Folder
40.2 Galley and page proofs with handwritten corrections, 1919
Box-Folder
40.3 Page proofs with handwritten final page and sample cover, 1919
Carte blanche (1920)
Box-Folder
40.4 Two handwritten manuscripts and photocopy of published article from Paris-Midi, 1919, nd
Box-Folder
40.5 Two handwritten signed manuscripts, nd
Box-Folder
40.6 Typescript with handwritten title page, 1919
Box-Folder
40.7 Galley proofs, nd
Box-Folder
40.8 La chanson des anémones, handwritten and typed carbon copy manuscripts, nd
Box-Folder
40.9 Les chansons du prince frivole (published as Le prince frivole , 1910), proofs with extensive handwritten corrections and additions, 1910
Le coq et l'arlequin (1918)
Box-Folder
40.10 Handwritten first draft with sketches, 1918
Box-Folder
bv5 Handwritten, typed, and carbon copy manuscript, 1918
Box-Folder
40.11 Printed copy with pencil margin markings, 1918
Box-Folder
41.1 D
Box-Folder
os18 David, handwritten unfinished script, nd
Box-Folder
41.2 Démarche d'un poète, typed carbon copy manuscript, nd
Box-Folder
41.3-4 Dessins (1923), proofs, 1924
Box-Folder
41.5 E
Box-Folder
os19 Une education sentimentale, signed handwritten manuscript, nd
Box-Folder
41.6 En écoutant un rossignol à Blidah, handwritten manuscript with typed carbon copies, nd
Box-Folder
41.7 Les enfants terribles (1929), typed carbon copy manuscript with handwritten revisions, and incomplete page proofs, 1929, nd
Box-Folder
os20 Escales, proofs, nd
Box-Folder
41.8 F-K
Box-Folder
41.9 Un genre nouveau, handwritten manuscript, nd
Le grand écart (1923)
Box-Folder
41.10-11 Typed carbon copy manuscript, two copies, 1923
Box-Folder
42.1 Page proofs with handwritten additions, bound, 1923
Box-Folder
42.2 L-M
Le livre blanc (1928)
Box-Folder
42.3 Typed carbon copy manuscript, nd
Box-Folder
42.4 Typed carbon copy manuscript with extensive handwritten revisions, 1927
Box-Folder
42.5-7 Page proofs with handwritten corrections, 1928
Box-Folder
42.8 Les livres, handwritten manuscript with carbon copies, nd
Les mariés de la tour Eiffel (1921)
Box-Folder
42.9 Handwritten manuscript, titled "La noce massacrée," nd
Box-Folder
42.10 Typescript, titled "La noce massacrée ou Les mariés de la tour Eiffel," nd
Box-Folder
42.11 Le mystère laïc: Chirico'un essai de critique, handwritten and typed manuscript, with typed carbon copy fragments of a later version, 1928
Box-Folder
43.1 N
Box-Folder
43.2 Ne plus voir que ce port, manuscript and typed carbon copy, nd
La noce massacré (1921)
Box-Folder
43.3 Le rire de Goya, handwritten manuscript (unpublished), 1916
Box-Folder
43.4 Handwritten draft with drawings in sketchbook, 1917
Box-Folder
43.5 Printer's copy, 1917, 1920
Box-Folder
43.6 Proofs with handwritten revisions and inserts, 1920
Box-Folder
43.7 Proofs, nd
Box-Folder
43.8 Notebook, nd
Box-Folder
43.9 Notebook on art, music, poetry, nd
Box-Folder
43.10 O
Opéra, 1927
Box-Folder
43.11 Handwritten manuscript, 1927
Box-Folder
43.12 Typescript and carbon copy, 1927
Box-Folder
43.13 Page proofs, 1927
Box-Folder
43.14 P
Box-Folder
44.1 Les parents terribles handwritten draft, (1938),
Box-Folder
44.2 Picasso (1923/1926), typed carbon copy manuscript, 1924
Box-Folder
44.3 Poème autour d'une fleur de Datura, handwritten manuscript with typed carbon copies, 1913
Box-Folder
os21 Poèmes, handwritten manuscripts, 1915-1920s
Poésies (1920)
Box-Folder
44.4 Handwritten manuscript with revisions and printed page, 1915-1919
Box-Folder
44.5 Proofs, incomplete, nd
Le Potomak (1919)
Page proofs
Mercure de France edition (unpublished)
Box-Folder
44.6-7 Few handwritten corrections and emendations, 330 pp., nd
Box-Folder
44.8 Incomplete, 312 pp., nd
Société Littéraire de France edition (1919)
Box-Folder
44.9-10 Handwritten corrections and revisions, 390 pp., nd
Box-Folder
45.1-2 Handwritten insert and few corrections, 422 pp., 1919
Box-Folder
45.3 Q-S
Box-Folder
45.4 T
Thomas l'imposteur (1923)
Box-Folder
45.5 Histoire, typed manuscript, 1923
Box-Folder
45.6 Préface, typed manuscript with handwritten changes, nd
Box-Folder
45.8 Three poems, handwritten manuscript with typed copy, nd
Box-Folder
45.9 24 poems, handwritten manuscript with printed page, 1925, nd
Box-Folder
45.10 U-Z
Box-Folder
45.11 Miscellaneous fragments, drafts, and sketches, nd
Box-Folder
45.12 Unidentified

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Series II. Correspondence, 1913-1959, nd

Outgoing, 1916-1959, nd
Box-Folder
46.1 A-G
Box-Folder
46.2 H-Z
Box-Folder
46.3 Hugo, Jean, 1919
Box-Folder
46.4-5 Hugo, Valentine, 1916-1959, nd
Box-Folder
46.6 Lefebvre, Henri, 1935
Box-Folder
46.7 Unidentified, 1925-1958, nd
Incoming, 1913-1928, nd
Box-Folder
46.8 A
Box-Folder
46.9 B
Box-Folder
46.10 C-D
Box-Folder
46.11 E-H
Box-Folder
47.1 I-L
Box-Folder
47.2-6 Jacob, Max, 1919-1927
Box-Folder
47.7 Laurencin, Marie, 1920-1928, nd
Box-Folder
48.1 M-O
Box-Folder
48.2 P-Q
Box-Folder
48.3 Poulenc, Francis, 1919-1921, nd
Box-Folder
48.4 R-S
Box-Folder
48.5 T-Z
Box-Folder
48.6 Unidentified, 1913-1931, nd

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Series III. Personal, 1908-1950, nd

Box-Folder
48.7 A-Z
Box-Folder
48.8 Address book, nd
Box-Folder
49.1 Inscriptions, 1924-1925, nd
Box-Folder
49.2-3 Livre d'addresses, service, nd
Box-Folder
49.4 Livre d'or (autograph book), 1908-1909
Box-Folder
49.5 Reines de la France (dossier), 1949-1950
Box-Folder
49.6 Miscellaneous

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Series IV. Third-Party Works and Correspondence, 1905-1925, nd

Works
Box-Folder
49.7 A-Z
Box-Folder
os22 Cafagna, Maria Pia
Box-Folder
49.8, g2 Crosland, Margaret, nd
Box-Folder
os22 Mathis, Edmund
Box-Folder
49.9 Tailhade, Laurent, 1908
Box-Folder
49.10 Unidentified, 1905, nd
Correspondence
Box-Folder
50.1 A-C
Box-Folder
50.2 Cocteau, Eugénie, 1918-1925
Box-Folder
50.3 D-Q
Box-Folder
50.4 Doucet, Jacques, 1919-1920
Box-Folder
50.5 R-Z
Box-Folder
50.6 Unidentified, nd

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