Vitality, intuition, and oneirism impregnate what Cocteau has written, drawn or translated into films. He was near, for his taste, to the surrealists – particularly his continuous search for the enigma, hidden in the symbols (‘secular mystery’, he called it) – but he was disliked by them because of his aesthetic dandyism. Cocteau repaid the surrealists with the same contempt; and perhaps in his search for a classic writing (never ‘automatic’) lies the inheritance of this sensual dowser: overall the Roussoian pages of The Difficulty of Being, where he says: ''Our culture attempt had a sad end', says Verlaine. Oh! how many failures do I have to record. There were the reasons to escape from myself. But the soul is tenacious. Destroy its niche, it will create it again'.

Dario Agazzi for SAFT