Raymond Radiguet (1903-1923) was the eldest of seven children born to a poor cartoonist. He left school at fifteen and was soon contributing articles to newspapers and journals in Paris, where he became the protege and lover of Jean Cocteau. Radiguet published poems, criticism, and a play, The Pelican, as well as a highly successful novel, The Devil in the Flesh, while leading a wild and increasingly self-destructive life. He died of typhoid, contracted from eating oysters. The manuscript of his second novel, Count d'Orgel's Ball, was prepared for posthumous publication by Cocteau. Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), poet, playwright, novelist, and film director, was one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century French artistic life, especially celebrated for his collaborations with such contemporaries as Picasso, Stravinsky, and Erik Satie. Among Cocteau's best-known works are the short novel Les Enfants terribles and three movies, The Blood of a Poet, Beauty and the Beast, and Orpheus.