Paris Album (1900–1914) by Jean Cocteau
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With the author's original illustrations.
Trans. from the French by Margaret Crosland.
Though Cocteau’s poetic, elusive language has largely resisted translation, “Paris Album” is an inspired iteration perfect for the English-speaking reader. Fitted with original, captioned illustrations by Cocteau and translated by personal friend of his, Margaret Crosland, the Paris here described is brought to life three times over. Charming, wild and somewhat glamorous scenes from childhood in Paris give way to a nostalgia for passion projects past: the influence of his parent’s culturally intellectual social life inspired Cocteau to music, to the stage, to poetry. Cocteau paints a colorful vignette from a language of memory and its inadvertent delights and lapses, and fills out a portrait of the artist beyond what we immediately recognize.