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It is a masterpiece of the art of translation of which the Times Literary Supplement said: "It has the rare merit of reading as though it were an English original. What started in games and laughter because for Paul and Elisabeth a drug too magical to resist.
The crime which finally destroys them has the inevitability of Greek tragedy. Illustrated with twenty of Cocteau's own drawings. Review quote The lasting feeling that his work leaves is one of happiness; not of course in the sense that it excludes suffering, but because, in it, nothing is rejected, resented, or regretted. Auden show more. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book.
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The holy terrors
It concerns two siblings, Elisabeth and Paul, who isolate themselves from the world as they grow up, an isolation which is shattered by the stresses of their adolescence. The book is illustrated by the author's own drawings. It was made into a film of the same name , a collaboration between Cocteau and director Jean-Pierre Melville in ,  and inspired the opera of the same name by Philip Glass. The story concerns the siblings Paul and Elisabeth who start this story without a father and with a bed-ridden mother, whom Elisabeth looks after. However, after Paul becomes ill when Dargelos throws a snowball with a stone inside at him, Elisabeth cares for both him and their mother. While Elisabeth nurses Paul it is revealed that the siblings enjoy a relationship characterised by a psychodrama known in the book as "The Game", which can only be played in their shared bedroom, elevated by the Game-play into "The Room". The game devised by Paul and Elisabeth often involves the siblings trying to annoy or irritate each other, by histrionic behaviour on the part of Elisabeth and by a taciturn refusal to be affected by Paul, where the winner is the one that leaves the contest with the last word, a sense of superiority and ideally having caused a display of angry frustration from the other.
The Holy Terrors
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The Holy Terrors : (Les Enfants Terribles)
In 'Les Enfants Terribles', Cocteau gives the reader a melodramatic view of adolescence, void of innocence and filled with darkness; a peculiar relationship between brother and sister of excessive indulgence, petulance, childish pettiness and selfishness. Paul and Elisabeth contrive and control their fantasy games in the 'Room' that cocoons them from the world, a place where they feel most alive - a comfort zone. Their individual existences are simultaneously symbiotic and parasitic - a constant 'give and take' revolves around them, matched in strength by the innate need of one to feed off the other. Their games are initially mischievous, innocuous, anywhere from benign tricks and silly fights to squabbling and name-calling, making faces at strangers and petty thievery, one-upping the other with ever-increasing risk.
The Holy Terrors by Jean Cocteau, First Edition
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