• Opium: The Diary Of His Cure

According to legend, Jean Cocteau took to opium in 1923 to assuage his grief at the early death of his protégé, the novelist Raymond Radiguet. Written during the last months of a detoxification process in 1930, Opium is paradoxically a work by Cocteau at the height of his powers and exhibits all of his characteristically unabashed egocentricity and brio.

Preceding much of the work for which he is best known, Opium is now regarded as one of Cocteau’s most important works and a major document in the literature of drug addiction in its own right. An extraordinary mélange of fact and fantasy, Opium describes his extraordinary hallucinations and the price his ‘perfect hours’ came to exact. There are also reminiscences of some of Cocteau’s closest friends, including the dancer Nijinsky and Marcel Proust, as well as revealing insights behind the creation of masterpieces such as Orphée and Les Enfants Terrible.

Opium: The Diary of His Cure is illustrated with 28 of Cocteau’s own disturbing drawings.

Translated from the French and introduced by Margaret Crosland

‘Such diamond precision of utterance has seldom been combined with so wide an aesthetic range.’– Kenneth Tynan
‘Of all Cocteau’s notebooks this is the most striking, and it gains much from his harrowing drawings.’– The Times
‘His contribution to the great literature of drug addiction is distinguished by the flashes of insight, the capacity to remember, the observation of the miraculous.’— Daily Telegraph


JEAN COCTEAU was born in 1889 in Maisons-Laffitte, Yvelines, a village near Paris. He is regarded as one of France’s greatest men of letters. A multi-faceted talent, he achieved distinction as a poet, playwright and critic, as well as an artist, illustrator, composer, actor and film-maker. Among his best known novels are Les Enfants Terribles, Thomas the Impostor and The Miscreant. He died in 1963.

Bibliographic Data
Date Published 1st May 2013
ISBN Number 9780720615111
Pages 244

Opium: The Diary Of His Cure

  • £12.99


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Tags: avant-garde, France, Paris, drugs, cocteau, jean cocteau, french literature, biography, drugs, heroin, opium