Jean cocteau’s le livre blanc: Sex, text and images

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From the first edition to the last one published, while he was still alive, Jean Cocteau systematically refused to print his name on the cover of Le Livre blanc: the text was to remain anonymous, although Cocteau himself had not hesitated to demonstrate his intimate relationship to the book by illustrating it on several occasions, and by adding a short manuscript note to the second French edition and a longer foreword to the English one. Indeed, of all Cocteau’s books, Le Livre blanc is probably one of his most confusing, because of both its subject and its form or forms. Even today it remains difficult to consider this book. The critic finds himself lost among the multiple editions (see list in fine), the various versions of the text, and the many illustrations, as well as the prefaces, manuscript notes and frontispieces. Despite it’) nature as a confidential text often dismissed by the critics and Cocteau himself, Le Livre blanc has appeared in no less than 13 different editions from 1928 to the present. This number is quite exceptional given the topic of the book: male homosexuality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalWord and Image
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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