The aim of this article is to describe the beginnings of the cooperation between Hanuš Jelínek and the journal and publishing house Mercure de France. In March 1900, Jelínek published, under the pseudonym Jean Otokar, his first study ‘La Poésie moderne tchèque’ in the Parisian journal. For some time, the critic then wrote the column ‘Lettres tchèques’ (August 1900 – February 1903) in Mercure – after Alexandr Bačkovský (alias Jean Rowalski) and before William Ritter. The early origin of the ‘Lettres tchèques’ of Bačkovský and Jelínek as a result of the aesthetic affinity between literary and artistic modernism on the one hand and some French and Francophone circles of the time on the other has the merit of introducing the readers of an important French periodical to Czech production. These columns have their firm place in the history of Czech efforts to gain recognition in France and the French-speaking world.