The Infernal Machine – Jean Cocteau (1936) (1st ed)


The Infernal Machine – Jean Cocteau (1936) (1st ed)


Title: The Infernal Machine

Author: Jean Cocteau, Carl Wildman (trans)

Publisher: Oxford University Press, 1936. First English-language edition.

Condition: Hardcover, with dust jacket. Very good. Small tear to top edge of the dust jacket, which is wrapped in plastic. Inscription to ffep and slight tanning to book. 107pp., app 8″ by 5″.

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About the book (from Wikipedia):

The Infernal Machine, or La Machine Infernale is a French play by the dramatist Jean Cocteau, based on the ancient Greek myth of Oedipus. The play initially premiered on April 10, 1934 at the Theatre Louis Jouvet in Paris, France, under the direction of Louis Jouvet himself, with costumes and scene design by Christian Bérard.

The Voice presents a brief prolog and information about events that have occurred before the action of the play takes place. The Voice recounts that a baby is abandoned on a mountainside. The baby, Oedipus, is adopted by the King of Corinth. Oedipus questions the Oracle of Delphi who says he will murder his father and marry his mother. At a crossroads, Oedipus comes to blows with other travelers and unwittingly kills his father, Laius, King of Thebes. After conquering the Sphinx, Oedipus enters Thebes and claims the prize of marrying Queen Jocasta. Again, he unwittingly fulfills the Oracle’s prophecy and, in marrying the Queen, marries his mother. After having two children with his mother, everything is brought to light. Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus blinds himself with his mother’s brooch. The Voice finishes with: “Before you is a fully wound machine. Slowly its spring will unwind the entire span of a human life. It is one of the most perfect machines devised by the infernal gods for the mathematical annihilation of a mortal.”

About Jean Cocteau (from Wikipedia):

Jean Cocteau (5 July 1889 – 11 October 1963) was a French poet, writer, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker. Cocteau is best known for his novel Les Enfants Terribles (1929), and the films The Blood of a Poet (1930), Les Parents Terribles (1948), Beauty and the Beast (1946) and Orpheus (1949). He was described as “one of [the] avant-garde’s most successful and influential filmmakers” by AllMovie