Thomas the Imposter

Cocteau, Jean

| 2005

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Too young to fight, he assumes for himself a noble ancestry and a few extra years and becomes a soldier. In this guise he meets the society star Princess de Bormes and her impressionable daughter Henriette. While the princess pursues charity work with the wounded, Henriette falls in love with Guillaume. However, Guillaume, resplendent in army uniform and issued with a shiny revolver, is lost like a child in a fantasy land of their own creation. At the novel's denouement he clings to his imposture but in mind, if not body, he has grasped the real meaning of war. Jean Cocteau's visionary novel is a 'hymn to the cult of youth' in which the First World War battlefields become an exaggerated spectacle where fiction and reality are inseparable.

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