Les Enfants Terribles by Jean Cocteau

By Jean Cocteau

Written in a French type that lengthy defied profitable translation—Cocteau used to be constantly a poet it doesn't matter what we used to be writing—the publication got here into its personal for English-language readers in 1955 whilst this translation was once accomplished via Rosamund Lehmann. it's a masterpiece of the artwork of translation of which the days Literary complement stated: "It has the infrequent benefit of analyzing as if it have been an English original." Lehrmann used to be capable of seize the essence of Cocteau's unusual, necromantic mind's eye and to carry totally to existence in English his tale of a brother and sister, orphaned in early life, who construct themselves a personal international out of 1 shared room and their very own unbridled fantasies. What began in video games and laughter simply because for Paul and Elisabeth a drug too magical to withstand. The crime which eventually destroys them has the inevitability of Greek tragedy.

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Sample text

A world of people who run temperatures and catch their deaths. In a flash she saw it all: her mother paralysed, her brother dying, no help in the house. no love. the cupboard bare, cold scraps. dry biscuits nibbled at odd hours, then nothing - a bowl of broth perhaps. left by a neighbour. Within the framework of their legend, the consumption. in bed, of quantities of barley sugar had become de rigueur - a fortifying accompaniment to their ceremonial sessions of quarrelling over books. They read the same books over and over again.

No more school-that's out of the question. Rest, rest, and again rest. You were quite right to tell your mother it was just a strain-we don't want her worried. You're a sensible girl. I can rely on you. " [ z6] "Capital. I shall be sending a couple of nurses in tomorrow. They 'II take turns running the house and doing the shopping. You'll be in charge. " She did not thank him. She was accustomed to miracles and accepted them as part of daily life. She expected them to happen. and they always did.

Seizing his opportunity. Paul shot an arm out before Gerard could stop him, he hurled a glass of milk at her. The wretch! " Rage choked her. The soaking paper stuck to her like an adhesive plaster: the milk streamed over her in rivulets. But Paul should not have the satisfaction of reducing her to tears. "Here a minute, Gerard," she went on. "Give me a hand, get a cloth. help me mop it up. " Then. lowering her voice: 'J\nd I was just going to let him have some crayfish .. Want one? Look out. the milk's still dripping.

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