Alex Wermer-Colan: by Geneva Heffernan

Alex Wermer-Colan

Alex Wermer-Colan is a writer, editor, dramaturg, and translator living in Philadelphia. His work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, Harpers, New Criterion, Ill Will, L’Esprit Createur, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Twentieth Century Literature, The Yearbook of Comparative Literature, American Book Review, Bloomsbury Press, Indiana University Press, and Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative.

Letter to the Americans

Literature by Jean Cocteau

Translated from the French by Alex Wermer-Colan

In 1949, Jean Cocteau spent twenty days in New York, and began composing on the plane ride home this essay filled with the vivid impressions of his trip. With his unmistakable prose and graceful wit, he compares and contrasts French and American culture: the different values they place on art, literature, liberty, psychology, and dreams. Cocteau sees the incredibly buoyant hopes in America’s promise, while at the same time warning of the many ills that the nation will have to confront—its hypocrisy, sexism, racism, and hegemonic aspirations—in order to realize this potential.…
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