Cocteau Quote About Dictionaries

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Tue Apr 30 20:41:32 UTC 2013

Jonathon Green has asked me about a source for the following quotation, said 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 littérature n'est jamais qu'un dictionnaire en désordre').

I'm not familiar with this line, although I like it a lot.  Can anyone help with tracking down the source?

Fred Shapiro
YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS (Yale University Press)

The American Dialect Society -

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