Identifier

etd-07132015-151731

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

French Studies

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Over the course of thirty years, the poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau created a singular artistic project he called the Orphic trilogy: Le Sang d’un poète (1930), Orphée (1950), and Le Testament d’Orphée (1959). This trilogy is marked by an Orphic pattern of a poet’s journey into an underworld to confront death. I will show that Cocteau’s invention is to have Orpheus be in love with death, for death to be an attractive and irresistible force to the poet. Simultaneously, Cocteau avails himself of the Narcissus myth, the man in love with his own reflection. Orpheus and Narcissus converge in these films as a synthesis of Cocteau’s personal obsessions, which I will identify in his own life. I will reveal that Cocteau’s usage of Narcissus results in a queer aesthetic which courses through the trilogy. Through a close textual and visual analysis of these films, I hope to enrich the appreciation and criticism of this major artistic achievement.

Date

2015

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Jensen, Katharine

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