On the frontier: Eugene Jolas and multilingual modernism

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    Multilingual writing challenges our perceptions of “national” languages in relation to cultural identity; it often challenges what Yasemin Yildiz defines as “the monolingual paradigm”. The modernist writer, editor and translator Eugene Jolas consistently explored and sought to transcend the borders of languages and national identity in his translational and multilingual editorial and poetic practice. Jolas is well known as the co-founder of the modernist magazine transition, but his poetic work has been relatively neglected, partly because it combines and switches between languages in odd and unsettling ways. Focusing on his multilingual poetry as it appears in transition 23 (1935), this article argues that this work is important precisely because it is unsettling. Jolas’s poetry centres on interlingual and intercultural difference, involving the reader in processes of movement, migration and transition between languages; it thus pushes us to explore and challenge our own linguistic “frontiers”.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


    • Eugene Jolas
    • Multilingualism
    • Translation
    • transition


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