“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, mid-October, 1921, Shakespeare and Company, 12 rue de l’Odeon, Paris; New York City; London

Well, she lost that bet.

American ex-patriate Sylvia Beach, 34, owner of this bookstore, had sent a subscription form to legendary Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, 65, in London. His former secretary had assured Sylvia that the irascible old man is quite generous. So Sylvia kindly asked him if he would like to subscribe in advance for one of the deluxe editions of the novel, Ulysses, by his countryman James Joyce, 39, which she is planning to publish this fall.

Joyce has never liked Shaw, referring to him as “a born preacher.” He warned Sylvia that the answer will be no. So they bet on it. A silk handkerchief for Beach if Shaw says yes; a box of Voltigeur cigars for Joyce if Shaw says no.

Sylvia Beach and James Joyce

Today she receives a letter saying that Ulysses, which Shaw has read excerpts of in the Egoist magazine, is “a revolting record of a disgusting phase of civilization…but a truthful one.” He assumes Beach herself must be

a young barbarian beglamored by the excitements and enthusiasms that art stirs up in passionate material, but to me…it is all hideously real.”

Shaw compares Joyce’s work to making “a cat cleanly by rubbing its nose in its own filth.”

He ends by saying,

I am an elderly Irish gentleman,..If you imagine that any Irishman, much less an elderly one, would pay 150Fr for a book, you little know my countrymen.”

Sylvia pays up to Joyce.

*****

To raise more money for the publication of Ulysses, and the support of Joyce, Sylvia has written once again to one of his patrons, Irish-American New York attorney John Quinn, 51, pleading,

I give him everything I can spare but as you may imagine my shop has not been in existence long enough to support [Joyce’s] family of four people as well as myself…It is up to all of us who want the most important book of today to appear to come to the help of its author.”

John Quinn

This only angers Quinn, so he checks with another of Joyce’s benefactors, American poet Ezra Pound, about to turn 36, in London. Quinn says he’ll send the money if Pound thinks Joyce really needs it, but

I’ll be damned if I’ll do it because Miss Beach asks for it.”

Pound assures him that Joyce isn’t starving. Quinn doesn’t send the money.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

At the end of the month I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

The “Such Friends” Holiday Gift Giving Guide

We interrupt our usual chronicling of what was happening in the literary 1920s for this year’s ever-helpful “Such Friends” Holiday Gift Giving Guide.

So there are friends on your gift list who are, let’s just say, bookish. Maybe your book club? Or teenagers who just discovered a favorite author? Or someone you argue with over the relative merits of classic novels?

You have a good idea which books they like—but you really don’t know which ones they have or haven’t read.

They haven’t read this one!

Cover design by Lisa Thomson

By giving them either volume—1920 or 1921, both available on Amazon—of Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s you are giving them the gift of gossip about their favorite early 20th century novelists, short story writers, poets, and journalists.

What could be better, you ask?

How about—a signed copy of Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s?! It can be arranged. Just email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com. And if you are near any convenient city of Pittsburgh bus route, I will be happy to hand deliver your copy.

But wait. “Teenagers”?, you are asking. Teenagers don’t want to slog through some print doorstop all about the past. Ha! Then give them the e-book, also readily available from Amazon. And look at this beautiful interior design by Lisa Thomson from Volume II—1921. All the vignettes are laid out in easy-to digest pages. You can dip in and out or read all the way through.

Sample interior of “Such Friends”

The perfect book to keep handy in your bathroom.

Any questions, just contact me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Happy holidays!

Another gift for your bookish friends, Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

At the end of this month I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, Fall, 1921, New York City, New York; and Rome

In New York City, the New York Times Magazine features an interview with comedian Charlie Chaplin, 32, with the first byline by the Times’ first female full-time writer, Jane Grant, 29. She and her husband, Harold Ross, just turning 29, are living on her salary and saving his earnings as editor of Judge to bankroll a magazine they want to start.

Charlie Chaplin

At the New York World, Herbert Bayard Swope, 39, who took over as executive editor last year, is running front page articles 21 straight days in a row, exposing the Ku Klux Klan as a white supremacist organization. The World’s investigation reveals that not only is the KKK terrorizing Blacks, Jews and immigrants, they are also harassing Catholics in the courts. The KKK is suing all the papers that are carrying The World’s series.

Advertisement in the New York Tribune placed by the New York World

Down in Greenwich Village, the autumn issue of The Little Review, recently convicted of publishing obscene material, proclaims: 

As protest against the suppression of The Little Review, containing various instalments of the Ulysses of James Joyce, the following artists and writers of international reputation are collaborating in the autumn number of Little Review.”

The list includes the magazine’s foreign editor, American ex-pat poet Ezra Pound, just turning 36, and writer and artist Jean Cocteau, 32. On the last page the magazine announces that, because Ulysses is to be published as a book in Paris,

We limp from the field.”

The Little Review, Autumn, 1921

The most recent issue of The Dial magazine contains an excerpt from Sea and Sardinia, by D. H. Lawrence, just turned 36. He complains to his agent that the magazine edited his piece of travel writing so that it is “very much cut up…Damn them for that.”

Sea and Sardinia by D. H. Lawrence

*****

In Rome, Harold Loeb, just turning 30, and Alfred Kreymborg, 38, have produced the first issue of a new magazine, Broom, including work by two of their fellow Americans:  A short story by Sherwood Anderson, just turning 45, and Sequidilla by Man Ray, 31. To choose a title, the founders came up with a list of one-syllable words and randomly chose “broom.” Broom is dedicated to giving “the unknown, path-breaking artist” the opportunity to sweep away their predecessors. But Loeb feels that this first issue has too many predecessors and too few unknowns.

Sequidilla by Man Ray

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

Later this month I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, early October, 1921, Albemarle Hotel, 47 Eastern Esplanade, Margate, Kent, England

This could work.

American ex-patriate poet, Tom Eliot, 33, and his wife, Vivien, also 33, are settling in for a three-week stay here in Cliftonville, a bit more than 60 miles northeast of London, during one of the hottest Octobers on record.

Advertisement for Albemarle Hotel

Tom has found a Victorian shed, the Nayland Rock Shelter, near the shore on Margate sands, that he can commute to each day by tram from Cliftonville. This will give him the seclusion he needs to work on the epic poem he has been trying to write since he moved to England more than seven years ago.

This beats the commute he has been doing every workday in noisy London from their Clarence Gate Gardens apartment in Marylebone to Moorgate station in east London and his job at Lloyds Bank. He enjoys the commute; but not the job.

Clarence Gate Gardens

His job, a two-month visit from his American family, and his insistence on trying to write this poem are taking their toll. Last month, Vivien arranged for Tom to be examined by one of the most celebrated nerve specialists in the country. The doctor strongly recommended that Eliot take two to three months off from everything. And everybody. Including Vivien. But she insisted on coming here with him.

The reputation of the doctor was the deciding factor. Lloyds agreed on the first of this month to grant Tom a three-month leave of absence, with full pay, to begin as soon as he trained his replacement, which he did last week.

Vivien is happy to be quit of London, describing their last night there with friends as

What a last impression of London…the monotony, the drivel of the whole stupid round.”

Now that they are in Margate, Tom is already eating better. And looking forward to digging in to commute to his beach shed each day to work on his as yet untitled poem. Vivien is planning to write to Scofield Thayer, 31, the editor of the American literary magazine The Dial, explaining that Tom will not be able to submit any more of his “London Letter” book reviews to the magazine until January at least.

But what will happen after their three-week stay here?

Tom is planning to take a holiday in Paris and bring along the “hoard of fragments” as he refers to the pencil scrawlings that are now the poem, to work on there with his fellow American friend and mentor, Ezra Pound, 35.

In addition, Viv has received advice from a friend of theirs who also suffers from depression, socialite and hostess, Lady Ottoline Morrell, 48. She has told them that the sickness leaves her “utterly dead & empty & it is like being in a cold fog—or a pond.” Ottoline has recommended a doctor in Switzerland who treated her brother.

Vivien wants Tom to go there after a few days in Paris.

*****

Down in London, after much debate, Parliament has voted to return to the longer pub hours in force before The Great War, pleasing the pub owners but not the moral guardians of society.

And to emphasize the importance of Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, November 11, Field Marshall Douglas Haig, 60, has proposed declaring it Poppy Day. Citizens throughout the country will make their patriotism visible to all by wearing bright red poppies in their lapels.

Poppy Day pin

N.B.: Poppy Day continues to this day.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Later this month I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, October 7, 1921, 1239 North Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois

The Cooperative Society of America has officially been put into receivership. To no one’s surprise.

And the least surprised is the editor of their newsletter, The Cooperative Commonwealth, newly married would-be novelist Ernest Hemingway, 23.

Chicago street

The founders and executives of the Society are accused of fraud for selling “beneficial interest certificates” to farmers, widows, and small businessmen for half down and half in instalments. But $11 million of the capital went into paper companies and the treasurer has taken off to Canada with about $3 million.

The judge has turned the evidence over to a grand jury.

Ernie is at home, reading the Chicago Tribune’s coverage of the story. He knows that he has to write about it too, in the organization’s own newsletter.

And start packing to move to Paris with his new wife.

Paris street

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, October, 1921, Hotel La Maison Blanche, 3 Traverse des Lices, Saint Tropez, France

The friends from London’s Bloomsbury neighborhood are settling into this hotel on the French Riviera.

Hotel La Maison Blanche

As soon as painter Vanessa Bell, 42, arrives, she writes to their friend, economist John Maynard Keynes, 38, back home, asking him to send them a dozen packages of oatmeal, 10 seven-pound tins of marmalade, four pounds of tea, and “some potted meat.”

Vanessa is here with her former lover, art critic Roger Fry, 54, who has received a letter from Vanessa’s sister, novelist Virginia Woolf, 39, reporting on a recent evening at her country home in Sussex: 

T. S. Eliot says that [James Joyce’s novel Ulysses] is the greatest work of the age—Lytton [Strachey] says he doesn’t mean to read it. Clive [Bell, Vanessa’s husband] says—well, Clive says that [his mistress] Mary Hutchinson has a dressmaker who would make me look like other people.”

Also here for the winter is Vanessa’s partner, painter Duncan Grant, 36, who has arrived via Paris.

Visitors or not, Vanessa intends to spend her time here working on still lifes and interiors, in preparation for her first solo show next spring.

Vanessa Bell’s Interior with a Table

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, September 30, 1921, Berkshire, England

Poet, playwright and new dad William Butler Yeats, 56, is writing to his friend in New York City, art collector John Quinn, 51. Yeats and his wife, Georgie, 28, have just returned from taking their baby son, Michael Butler, one month old, to Dublin for an operation. All went well, however, Michael might need more surgery, in London, next month.

But the Yeatses arrived home to find out that, once again, his father, painter John Butler Yeats, 82, has cancelled his booking to sail back home to his family in Ireland. This time he blamed it on some recent sickness.

W. B. Yeats by J. B. Yeats

Both Willie and Quinn have virtually ordered JB to come home. Quinn is resenting taking care of the older man, and Yeats has told his father point blank that, with his growing family, he can no longer afford to his support Dad’s American lifestyle.

Quinn has booked JB, once again, to sail in November and has put down a deposit.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about Writers Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, late September, 1921, Monk’s House, Rodmell, East Sussex

Oh, what a damned bore!”

Virginia Woolf, 39, had written to a friend this past summer.

She had been ill—and not working—for so long.

But now that it is autumn, with lovely weather and long walks out here in the countryside, she is feeling better and writing better than before.

Monk’s House, Rodmell

Virginia and her husband, Leonard, 40, had recently bought a used platen machine for their expanding Hogarth Press, which they run out of their London home. Virginia’s short story collection, Monday or Tuesday, which they published earlier this year, is selling well. And she is now close to finishing her next novel, Jacob’s Room.

One of many interruptions this month was the visit this past weekend of their friend, poet Tom Eliot, just turning 33. Virginia hadn’t been looking forward to it. She had written to her sister, painter Vanessa Bell, 42,

I suppose you wdn’t come for the 24th? When Eliot will be here?”

But Vanessa wasn’t available.

His stay turned out to be uneventful. Lots of chat about writing and books. Virginia confides in her diary that Tom’s visit

passed off successfully…& yet I am so disappointed to find that I am no longer afraid of him—”

*****

Eliot hadn’t mentioned this to the Woolfs this past weekend, but he is looking forward to a visit to a London nerve specialist. His wife, Vivien, 33, has made the appointment for him because they have both agreed that his job at Lloyds Bank, a summer visit from his American family, and his work on a major poem, are all affecting his health. They may be moving out of hectic London soon and are hoping that an upcoming trip to Paris to visit fellow ex-pat American poet Ezra Pound, 36, might help. He and Pound are going to work together on editing the poem.

Vivien and Tom Eliot

Vivien writes to one of their friends, jokingly, that she is seeking help for Tom but hasn’t “nearly finished my own nervous breakdown yet.”

But Vivien has written a much longer letter to her brother-in-law, archaeologist Henry Ware Eliot, 41, just gone back home to St. Louis. Not joking, she confides that she knows her husband is not in love with her anymore. And Vivien adds a postscript,

Good-bye Henry…And be personal, you must be personal, or else it’s no good. Nothing’s any good.”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, September 22, 1921, Shakespeare and Company, 12 rue de l’Odeon, Paris

Which is worse? Financial problems or visiting family members?

That’s what is confronting ex-pat bookstore owner Sylvia Beach, 34, who is writing to her sister, Holly Beach Dennis, 37, in Italy to ask for money.

Shakespeare and Company, 12 rue de l’Odeon

Sylvia and her partner, Adrienne Monnier, 29, who owns a French-language bookstore across the street, have just returned from a lovely holiday in Hyeres on the southeastern coast of France.

Now that they are back home Sylvia has to face her mother, here on her annual visit, joined by Mom’s brother and his son.

In addition, the bill for renovations Sylvia had to have done to move her shop, Shakespeare and Company, to this new—much improved—location has come due. A total of 2,120 francs, including printing the announcement of the relocation.

But the bill that worries Sylvia the most is the one from the printer, Darantiere, in Dijon. He needs 1,000 francs for the work he has done setting type for Ulysses, the controversial novel by Irish ex-pat James Joyce, 39, which Sylvia has offered to publish. Darantiere has agreed to be paid in instalments, and Sylvia has solicited quite a few pre-orders from around the world. But not enough subscribers have sent checks yet to cover the growing expenses.

Letter from Darantiere

Reluctantly, Sylvia writes to Holly:

I’m asking you to lend me a thousand francs!!! My carpentry bill will be handed in any day now and mother who was going to lend me all the money for my moving expenses had to stop off in the midst, having had a great deal of expense getting [their sister] Cyprian equipped as a rising film star…My business is going well [but I] have to put every single centime aside to pay the printer.”

The plan is still to bring out Ulysses this fall, but Sylvia is dubious.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, September 18, 1921, en route from Taormina, Sicily, to Florence, Italy

Occupation:  Novelist. Height:  5’9”. Eyes:  Blue gray. Hair:  Light brown. Forehead:  Normal. Nose:  Short. Face:  Long. Complexion:  Pale. Chin:  Normal.

That’s how the British Foreign Office in London had described Nottingham native David Herbert Lawrence, just turned 36, on the passport they issued him two years ago.

Now he is traveling from his current home in Sicily to the British consulate in Florence to get a renewal. He and his wife Frieda, 42, are feeling as though it may be time to move on.

They have been living in a beautiful hilltop home, Fontana Vecchia, since last year. They had left England during the Great War, feeling as though Frieda’s German nationality and David’s supposedly “obscene” writings were not welcome.

Fontana Vecchia

After traveling around Europe, David had managed to finish his most recent novel, Aaron’s Rod, this past summer, although it won’t be published until next year. His UK publisher, after much waffling, had finally brought out his Women in Love this past summer, to many negative reviews.

Lawrence has a travel piece coming out next month in The Dial magazine, but he hasn’t been writing much. Except letters to his New York publisher:

I wish I could find a ship that would carry me round the world and land me somewhere in the West—New Mexico or California—and I could have a little house and two goats, somewhere away by myself.”

With only about £40 in their British bank account, where can he and Frieda go? Maybe somewhere on a tramp steamer.

Friends are moving to Ceylon to study Buddhism, but the Lawrences have turned down their offer to join them.

David is still waiting to hear from his American agent about the current balance in his accounts there. Maybe that’s the next option.

D. H. Lawrence passport photo

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.