Alexander Trocchi: The Making of the Monster
(Polygon, 1991) by Andrew Murray Scott. Biographical information
on Trocchi may also be found in Contemporary Authors, Gale Research Co.,
publishers, vol. 11/12.
Born in Glasgow in 1925, Alexander Whitelaw Robertson Trocchi took an
M.A. in philosophy at Glasgow University in 1947, receiving a Second
instead of the expected First after he decamped to Campsie Fells with
his girlfriend to start a pig farm. Trocchi then moved to France where
he edited the journal Merlin, with Alice
Jane Lougee, from May 1952 to Spring 1955, publishing Sartre, Genet,
Beckett, Ionesco, Svevo, Eluard, Hikmet, Neruda, Creeley, Henry Miller,
A.J. Ayer, Christopher Logue, and W.S. Graham. His first novel, Young Adam, set in Glasgow, was published in
Paris by the Olympia Press (1954) under the pseudonym Francis Lengel.
However, Trocchi was writing for at least seven years before that: some
poems, stories, and an early version of Young
Adam, written in 1948, are included here. In 1956 Trocchi moved
to America, taking with him the manuscripts of Cain's Book, published in the U.S. in 1960 and in
England in 1963. The Outsiders, published
in 1961, was comprised of four short stories and a rewritten version of
Young Adam. In 1961 Heinemann brought out
Young Adam, which was Trocchi's first book
to be published in England. Probably about the same time he produced a
series of essays on drug addiction, and in 1963 began planning an
international cultural project called Sigma. In 1961 Trocchi returned to
Britain, and in 1962 he took part in the Edinburgh Festival Poetry
Conference, debating the future of poetry and art with Hugh MacDiarmid.
Cain's Book, published in Britain in 1963,
established his reputation as a novelist, as Merlin had established his reputation as an
editor almost a decade earlier.
Trocchi wrote little after 1968, and what he published were either
material written considerably earlier or fitfully completed
translations. His translations include Apollinaire's Eleven Thousand Virgins (1953), I, Jan Cremer (1965), Andre Pieyre de
Mandiargues' The Girl on the Motorcycle
(1966), Valentine Penrose's The Bloody
Countess (1970), Rene de Obaldia's The
Centenarian (1970), and Jean Douassot's La
He died on April 15, 1984.