Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Cocteau mss., ca. 1908-1909, consist of the letters of Jean Cocteau, 1889-1963, author to a young friend and collaborator Jacques Renaud. Although the majority of the letters and notes are undated, general content indicates they too were written during the same period as the dated items, i.e., 1908-1909.

Included in the letters to Renaud is one from Cocteau's mother, Eugenie (Lecomte) Cocteau, to Renaud, congratulating him on refusing to join Jean in Venice in September 1908; two cards from Mme. Cocteau's sister, E. Lecomte, to Mme. Renaud inviting her to dine; and a postcard from Jacques Renaud's sister Madeleine Renaud to Mme. Renaud.

According to biographies of Jean Cocteau, he first read Oscar Wilde around 1908 and was much impressed by his work. During the period of this collection he and Jacques Renaud composed a play based on Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and a few of the letters make reference to "Dorian". Two drafts of that play are present here; see the Manuscripts Catalog for further information. There is no bibliographical evidence it was ever published.

Collection size: 54 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.