Books: The Artist Was the Medium

THE DIFFICULTY OF BEING by Jean Cocteau. 160 pages. Coward-McCann. $4.50.

Tradition has it that it is difficult to be an artist; but it has always been even more difficult to act the artist. Exactly what is his role, and how should he play it? Should he go to great hair lengths and openly flout middle-class convention at every turn? Or should he simply play it cool, all buttoned down on the outside, la vie de bohème beating away on the inside? Each role carries the built-in penalties of repression—the one by society, the...

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