Eugene Jolas was born in Union City, New Jersey, but grew up in Forbach in Elsass-Lothringen (today in French Lorraine), to which his family returned when he was two years old. He spent periods of his adult life living in both the U.S. and France, but wrote mostly in English.
In Paris, Eugene Jolas met James Joyce and played a major part in encouraging and defending Joyce's 'Work in Progress' (which would later become Finnegans Wake), a work which Jolas viewed as the perfect illustration to his manifesto, published in 1929 in transition.
The manifesto, sometimes referred to as the Revolution of the Word Manifesto, states, in particular, that 'the revolution in the English language is an accomplished fact', 'time is a tyranny to be abolished', 'the writer expresses, he does not communicate', and 'the plain reader be damned'. On many occasion, he used to write under the pseudonym 'Theo Rutra'.
Jolas' published works include:
- Secession in Astropolis (1929) Black Sun Press
- I Have Seen Monsters and Angels
- Man from Babel (Yale University Press, 1998)
- Eugene Jolas: critical writings, 1924-1951 (Northwestern University Press, 2009)
- An essay on James Joyce in Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress (1929), a collection on Joyce that also included contributions from Samuel Beckett, Stuart Gilbert, Robert McAlmon, William Carlos Williams.
- Brief biography
- A more extensive biography
- "Eugene Jolas's Multilingual Poetics and Its Legacies" by Marjorie Perloff
- "Celebrating the Spirit of the Avant-garde" by Karen Rosenberg
- "Lost Man of the Lost Generation" By Robert Kiely
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