Cocteau Quote About Dictionaries

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 1 04:21:35 UTC 2013

Below is a link into a French edition of Le Potomak that displays a
snippet with a version of the target quotation.

Le Potomak, 1913-1914:
précédé d'un Prospectus 1916
Jean Cocteau
Stock, 1950 - 341 pages

On Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 4:41 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Cocteau Quote About Dictionaries
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Jonathon Green has asked me about a source for the following quotation, sai=
> d to be by Jean Cocteau with the context being a reference to Victor Hugo:
> "The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order.'=
> ' (orig. 'Un chef-d'oeuvre de la litt=E9rature n'est jamais qu'un dictionna=
> ire en d=E9sordre').
> I'm not familiar with this line, although I like it a lot.  Can anyone help=
>  with tracking down the source?
> Fred Shapiro
> Editor
> YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS (Yale University Press)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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