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The Difficulty of Being

The Difficulty of Being

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Written by Jean CocteauAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jean Cocteau
Translated by Elizabeth SpriggeAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Elizabeth Sprigge
Introduction by Geoffrey O'BrienAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Geoffrey O'Brien

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 192 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House
  • On Sale: May 28, 2013
  • Price: $15.95
  • ISBN: 978-1-61219-290-1 (1-61219-290-4)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

By the time he published The Difficulty of Being in 1947, Jean Cocteau had produced some of the most respected films and literature of the twentieth century, and had worked with the foremost artists of his time, including Proust, Gide, Picasso and Stravinsky.

This memoir tells the inside account of those achievements and of his glittering social circle. Cocteau writes about his childhood, about his development as an artist, and the peculiarity of the artist’s life, about his dreams, friendships, pain, and laughter. He probes his motivations and explains his philosophies, giving intimate details in soaring prose. And sprinkled throughout are anecdotes about the elite and historic people he associated with.

Beyond illuminating a truly remarkable life, The Difficulty of Being is an homage to the belief that art matters.

“A man to whom every great line of poetry was a sunrise, every sunset the foundation of the Heavenly City.” — Edith Wharton

“One of the master craftsmen.” — Tennessee Williams

“One of the most inspiring creators–and self-creations–of the twentieth century” — New Yorker

“He left his mark on an entire era.” — New York Times

“To enclose the collected works of Cocteau one would need not a bookshelf, but a warehouse...” — W.H. Auden

“[Cocteau] had, and still has, a huge influence on the avant-garde of American film.” — The Guardian