cover of book

Eugene Jolas: Critical Writings, 1924-1951
by Eugene Jolas
edited by Klaus H. Kiefer and Rainer Rumold
Northwestern University Press, 2009
Paper: 978-0-8101-2581-0
Library of Congress Classification PN56.M54J65 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 809.9112


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.

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