Australian Journal of French Studies

Jean's Just Wild(e) About Oscar: Cocteau's Portrait surnaturel de Dorian Gray

Australian Journal of French Studies (2012), 49, (1), 43–52.

Abstract

In 1908 Jean Cocteau completed with his friend Jacques Renaud an adaptation for the stage of Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde's death in Paris in 1900 had made him an important figure for young French writers, and references to his works can be found in a number of the very early works of Cocteau. The nature of the adaptation and the way that the structure of the novel facilitates the creation of a stage version are examined, as well as issues relating to the relative importance of aestheticism and homosexuality in both novel and play. The novel confronts issues of artistic and physical beauty by being deliberately vague about them, allowing the imagination of the reader to fill in the gaps. The play adopts a similar solution to resolve the theatrical problem posed by the portrait.

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Author details

Connon, Derek