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Maria Jolas
Restored photograph
Eugene and Maria Jolas Papers



In 1926 Maria Jolas and her husband Eugene founded transition, a journal celebrated for its promotion of modern art and literature. transition was considered “by far the most provocative international magazine to be published during the era. A publication in transition was a necessary debut in the life of any literary aspirant.”1 Of begining the journal, Jolas wrote: “my husband and I discussed the founding of a magazine together, at our own expense. . . . transition was conceived, and the personal and financial sacrifice gladly accepted, in order to create a meeting place for all those artists on both sides of the Atlantic who were working towards a complete renovation, both spiritual and technical, of the various art forms.”2 In its more than ten years of publication, the journal printed work by Gertrude Stein, Kay Boyle, André Gide, and James Joyce, including the serial publication of his “Work in Progress,” which later became Finnegan’s Wake. Maria Jolas was very involved in supporting and promoting Joyce’s work; she was responsible for correcting the proofs of Finnegan’s Wake, in which some critics claim she is an identifiable character-presence. In addition to her work with transition, Jolas was an accomplished translator of work by André Breton, Leon-Paul Fargue, and especially experimental prose writer Nathalie Sarraute.

1 Barbara Guest, Herself Defined: The Poet H.D. and Her World, Garden City: Doubleday, 1984, p. 165.
2 Testimony Against Gertrude Stein, transition Pamphlet #1, supplement to vol. 23, Feb. 1935, pp. 9, 11.



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