Eugene Jolas

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Eugene Jolas
Born John George Eugène Jolas
October 26, 1894
Union Hill, New Jersey, United States
Died May 26, 1952(1952-05-26) (aged 57)
Occupation Writer, translator, literary critic
Language English, French

John George Eugène Jolas (October 26, 1894 – May 26, 1952) was a writer, translator and literary critic.

Early life[edit]

John George Eugène Jolas was born October 26, 1894, in Union Hill, New Jersey (what is today Union City, New Jersey). His parents, Eugène Pierre and Christine (née Ambach) had immigrated to the United States from the Rhine borderland area between France and Germany several years earlier. In 1897 the family later returned to Forbach in Elsass-Lothringen (today in French Lorraine), where Jolas grew up, and which had become part of Germany in 1871 following the Franco-Prussian War.[1]

He spent periods of his adult life living in both the US and France, but wrote mostly in English.[citation needed]


Along with his wife Maria McDonald and Elliot Paul, in 1927 he founded the influential Parisian literary magazine, transition.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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'.[citation needed]

As a translator, he is perhaps best known for rendering Alfred Doblin's novel Berlin Alexanderplatz into English in 1931.[2][3]

Published works[edit]


  1. ^ "Guide to the Eugène and Maria Jolas Papers". Yale University Library. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  2. ^ Doblin, Alfred, Berlin Alexanderplatz:The Story of Franz Biberkopf, (1929) London: Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-7789-5
  3. ^ Buruma, Ion (17 January 2008). "The Genius of Berlin". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 7 October 2017.

External links[edit]