- Four autograph letters signed, three with original drawings, to Jean Desbordes (?), Saint-Cloud, 1929
- paper, ink
THE LETTERS ARE ILLUSTRATED WITH DRAMATIC DRAWINGS EXPRESSING THE PAINFUL EXPERIENCE OF BEING IN WITHDRAWAL.
In December 1928, Cocteau started a (second) detox treatment for opium addiction. His creativity was unhindered by the treatment, and it was during his stay at the clinic of Saint-Cloud (near Paris) that he wrote one of his masterpieces Les Enfants Terribles (1930) while mourning the premature death of his lover Raymond Radiguet (1903-1923). It was during this period that Cocteau started a relationship with Jean Desbordes. Desbordes first wrote to Cocteau after he read Le Grand Ecart (1923) and sent him a draft of a book he was working on. Cocteau replied "Your fire put fire to your pages.... Calm down". A few years later, Cocteau's advice remained the same: "Relax. Give yourself the luxury of relaxing.... This fever risks to make you "overload" your prose.... Your soul is holy enough, fresh enough so you can avoid stimulants". Cocteau also thanks his friend for the support his letters gave him, apologizing for the lack of response. "Your letters help me a lot and give me strengths where the medicines cannot reach".
Cocteau also writes about the struggle of detox and the dramatic and pathetic drawings, along with the text itself, perfectly express the pain endured by the poet.
A fantastic poetic testimony of Jean Cocteau's detox experience.