Edouard Roditi

About the Author
Edouard Roditi (1910–1992), was born of American parents in Paris. He was educated in France, England, Germany and the United States, at the University of Chicago and the University of California at Berkeley. He began publishing poetry in 1928 in transition, the expatriate Paris periodical to which James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and Hart Crane, among others, were contributing. In 1934, T. S. Eliot published some of Roditi’s poems in The Criterion. Since about 1940, he had been a fairly regular contributor to the New Direction Annuals, edited by James Laughlin, who had also published his Poems 1928–1948, his critical study of the writings of Oscar Wilde, originally in the “Makers of Modern Literature Series” of New Directions, and his volume of short stories, The Delights of Turkey.

Edouard Roditi published two volumes of his poems, Emperor of Midnight and Thrice Chosen, with Black Sparrow Press, a biography of Magellan, Magellan of the Pacific, with Faber and Faber (London) and a frequently reprinted collection of interviews with modern painters and sculptors entitled Dialogues on Art.

Edouard Roditi also published extensively in French and from time to time in German. As a translator, he had published books translated from French, German, Spanish and Turkish.


  • “In the late twenties, Edouard Roditi was the first person to use the word ‘surrealist’ in written English. Over sixty years later, he is one of the last survivors of that generation of pioneering experimenters. His prose work always surprises and delights with its flights to the Marvelous; he has stayed true to the quest.”
  •      — Lawrence R. Smith

  • “Roditi reveals his wide and varied culture, a cosmopolitian spirit, linguistic virtuosity, an impressive erudition, and a genuine concern for the human being in a society where the individual ‘fears that nothing is real, not even himself.’”
  •      — World Literature

  • “Playful and serious, fantastic and reflective, sad and hilarious, satiric and gentle, political and remote.”
  •      — Review of Contemporary Fiction

  • “All told and said, Choose Your Own World has to be one of the most macabre and decadent pieces of surrealist writing of this century….[I cannot imagine] anyone trying to outdo or continue this style or genre after [Roditi]…. [A] variegated and colorful mausoleum of ingenious ideas and devices, whose excentricity cannot be surpassed.”
  • Nanos Valaoritis, American Book Review

  • “Roditi was not merely ‘associated’ with Surrealism but, at the very least, stands as one of America’s most important authentic Surrealists. Equally underappreciated are his several hundred essays on art and literature, his scholarly studies of Ladino and Medieval literature and culture, his fine prose fiction, and his biographies of Wilde and Magellan…. Absurdity and dream were central concerns for Roditi, and no more so than in [this] remarkable collection of prose poems, stories, and fables.”
  •      — Thomas Epstein, Alea