Introduced by Pierre Caizerguess
Translated by Juliet Powys


Flapped Paperback
Out Now
Extent:  48 pages
Trim: 13 x 23 cm
Price: £13


Cocteau managed to pursue a half-dozen careers with greater success than the most disciplined professional manages to pursue in a single one.

––Kevin McMahon,  Los Angeles Review of Books

A genuine renaissance man.

––Susan King, Los Angeles Times

Cocteau left behind a body of work
unequalled for its variety of artistic expression.

––Annette Insdorf, The New York Times

A bold innovator in ballet, film,
theater, and creative writing.

––David Carrier, Artforum


“Discomfort is the hallmark of the poet. His world is almost uninhabitable. People sense this. They enter it as little as possible, as quickly as possible, and only out of curiosity.”

Widely celebrated for his work in the fields of literature, cinema, and the visual arts, Jean Cocteau was one of the twentieth century’s outstanding creative practitioners. In this collection of brief—often aphoristic—meditations, Jean Cocteau reflects on the fundamental solitariness of the artistic vocation.

As well as offering fascinating insights into Cocteau’s own achievements, Secrets of Beauty is a moving testament to the artist’s need and obligation to pursue an independent path, and to the disjunction between art and “the inflexible everyday world”. Juliet Powys’s translation skilfully captures the wit and subtlety of the original French text—a vital contribution to aesthetic theory that deserves to be read as a significant work of literature in its own right.


Poet, novelist, film producer, librettist, painter, actor, composer…there seemed to be no area where Cocteau couldn’t become a roaring success.…Such were Cocteau’s extraordinary reserves of talent that it’s hard to pick one area in which he was most gifted.

––Charlie Connelly, The New European

One of French cinema’s greatest
and most original directors.

––James S. Williams, Royal Holloway, University of London