Le livre blanc by Jean Cocteau


Two illustrations by Jean Cocteau for his homoerotic novel Le livre blanc. Cocteau never publicly acknowledged his authorship of the book but his illustrations (coloured by MB Armington) decorated the second edition published by Éditions du Signe in 1930. He also provided an introduction. The Koopman Collection has further illustrations and page scans.

Cocteau wrote Le livre blanc in 1927 in Chablis, where he was staying with Jean Desbordes, the successor to Cocteau’s great love. Cocteau’s drawings have been described as obscenely pious. They are established by quick, flowing lines, partially erotic and often sultry, featuring classical elements such as busts and centaurs. Erotic images were popular articles in France, where they were sold under the counter; people were extra careful about homosexual erotica. Cocteau described his first sexual experiences in Le livre blanc: his excitement upon seeing a naked peasant boy on horseback and two naked young gypsies on his father’s estate. (More.)


Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The gay artists archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Cocteau’s sword
Cristalophonics: searching for the Cocteau sound
Cocteau at the Louvre des Antiquaires
La Villa Santo Sospir by Jean Cocteau

2 thoughts on “Le livre blanc by Jean Cocteau”

  1. are these the one of a kind drawings? or the ones from the site you are providing? the reason Im asking is because I have the book in the best condition seen and the front piece is also better than the one your showing. dnlryry@yahoo.com

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