Eugene Jolas

Paper Text – $32.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2581-0
Publication Date
December 2009
Page Count
624 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Eugene Jolas

Critical Writings, 1924-1951

Dividing his youth between the United States and the bilingual Alsace-Lorraine, Eugene Jolas (1894-1952) flourished in three languages. As an editor and poet, he came to know the major writers and artists of his time and enjoyed a pivotal position between the Anglo-American and Continental avant-garde. His editorship of transition, the leading avant-garde journal of Paris in the twenties and early thirties, provided a major impetus to writers from James Joyce (whose Finnegans Wake was serialized in transition) to Gertrude Stein, and Samuel Beckett, with first translations of André Breton, and Franz Kafka, among others. Jolas’s critical work, collected in this volume, includes introductions to anthologies, manifestoes like the famous Vertical, essays, some published here for the first time, on writers as various as Novalis, Trakl, the major Surrealists, Heidegger, and other philosophers. An acute observer of the literary scene as well as of the roiling politics of the time, Jolas emerges here in his role at the very center of avant-garde activity between the wars. Accordingly, this book is of signal importance to anyone with an interest in modernism, avant-garde, multilingualism, and the culture of Western Europe in the first half of the twentieth century.

About the Author

Eugene Jolas was born in Union City, New Jersey, in 1894 but was raised by his Franco-German parents in Lorraine. In 1927 Jolas, along with his wife Maria Mcdonald and Elliot Paul, founded the influential Parisian literary magazine transition. In Paris he met James Joyce and played a major part in encouraging and defending Joyce’s "Work-in-Progress," later to become Finnegans Wake, a work Jolas viewed as the perfect embodiment of his manifesto. Jolas’s life and career are described vividly in his autobiography, Man from Babel.

Klaus H. Kiefer is a fellow at the center for the Humanities at Northwestern University and has published widely on European literature from the eighteenth to the twentieth century.

Rainer Rumold is a professor of German at Northwestern University. He has published numerous books, editions, and articles on European modernism, avant-garde, and expressionism.