Cocteau, (Clément Eugène) Jean (Maurice)
- Paul Griffiths
(b Maisons-Laffitte, Paris, July 5, 1889; d Milly-la-Forêt, Seine-et-Oise, Oct 11, 1963). French writer, film maker, designer and aesthetic activist. His associations with musicians began when the Ballets Russes made their first visit to Paris in 1909; for them he worked on Le dieu bleu, in the oriental style that had made their reputation. The success of The Rite of Spring shifted his attention: he dedicated his verse collection Le potomak (1913–14) to Stravinsky, and there was a brief attempt at collaboration. Another dramatic project, a circus presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, also foundered, but he seized from the wreckage one of its intended composers, Satie, and planned a ballet that would realize some of the ideas from the two failed schemes. Yet Parade, as finally produced, owed little to him: his text was scrapped, and the visual aspects of the ballet were in the hands of Picasso. His response was characteristic: in ...