I've just published a wonderful, short profile of Jean Paulhan by Professor Michael Syrotinski. This accompanies Michael's Introduction to Paulhan's The Flowers of Tarbes which I published here on RSB at the beginning of February. Michael is the foremost Paulhan expert here in the UK, note his Defying Gravity: Jean Paulhan's Interventions in Twentieth-century French Intellectual History, The Power of Rhetoric, the Rhetoric of Power: Jean Paulhan's Fiction, Criticism and Editorial Activity, and Progress in Love on the Slow Side. I'll be interviewing Michael soon, in the meantime these excellent Paulhan texts should keep you busy!
It's difficult to overstate the importance of Jean Paulhan's role in French literature in the first half of the twentieth century, and the influence he wielded. He was closely involved with the leading literary review in France, the Nouvelle Revue Française, from 1920 to his death in 1968, and the director of the review during its illustrious interwar years. His position at the heart of the French literary scene, along with the many other associated editorial activities through which he nurtured and published the cream of a generation of writers, earned him the reputation as the 'grey eminence' of modern French literature.