Enfants Terribles Analysis

Places Discussed (Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Cité Monthiers

*Cité Monthiers (sih-tay mon-tee-er). District in Paris situated between the rue de Clichy and the rue d’Amsterdam. It is the site of the Lycée Condorcet, whose pupils use its streets as a playground. It is there that Paul is laid low by Dargelos’s stone-loaded snowball; the incident gives rise to his temporary confinement and his friendship with Gérard. The master’s residence, in an oblong court—which is inaccessible from the rue de Clichy because the way is blocked by wrought iron gates and hidden from the rue d’Amsterdam by a block of tenements—provides an image of confinement complementary to that of the Room.

Rue Lafitte

Rue Lafitte. Street on which Gérard’s home stands. There he lives with his guardian before moving into the house that Elisabeth inherits from Michael. In spite of Gérard’s apparent importance within the story, it never figures as a setting; when Gérard and Paul meet outside the house in the rue Montmartre they do so in cafés (their one brief long-range excursion to an unspecified seaside resort is a disaster whose risk they are not tempted to repeat).

The Room

The Room. Initially a fantasized enlargement of the children’s bedroom in their house in the rue Montmartre, beheld and sustained by virtue of their ability to enter the “Game.” The Game is a state of altered self-consciousness of which all children are capable,...

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Enfants Terribles Bibliography (Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Brée, Germaine, and Margaret Guiton. An Age of Fiction: The French Novel from Gide to Camus. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1957. Cocteau’s novels are discussed form page 140 to page 148, which describe him as “a modern Daedalus.”

Brown, Frederick. An Impersonation of Angels: A Biography of Jean Cocteau. New York: Viking, 1968. Like most studies of Cocteau this concentrates more on his work for the cinema than on his novels. Considers the relationship between the two versions of Les Enfants Terribles.

Crosland, Margaret. Jean Cocteau. London: Peter Nevill, 1955. A biography and critical analysis. Discusses the novel version of Les Enfants Terribles on pages 166-169.

Fowlie, Wallace. Jean Cocteau: The History of a Poet’s Age. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1966. A sensitive study that includes a discussion of Les Enfants Terribles.

Steegmuller, Francis. Cocteau: A Biography. London: Constable, 1986. A biography that is fuller than Crosland’s and less florid than Brown’s.