The May issue of the Howard University magazine, The Stylus, is out and Zora Neale Hurston, 30, is feeling so proud.
Zora Neale Hurston at Howard University
Zora never even thought she would get into Howard, let alone finish her associate degree last year. She was one of the first women chosen for the new sorority, Zeta Phi Beta, and her grades have been strong.
She not only has a poem published in this issue, but also her first short story, “John Redding Goes to Sea.” That means she is now accepted into the university’s prestigious literary club, also called The Stylus. Quite a coup. The professor who founded the group, Dr. Alain Locke, 35, chair of the philosophy department, is the only African-American ever chosen to be a Rhodes Scholar.
Her story is about African-Americans in the small, all-Black town where she grew up, Eatonville in Orange County, Florida. Zora feels that this is a community few authors write about. She’s starting to think that she might pursue writing rather than anthropology as a career.
Novelist Sherwood Anderson, 44, and his wife Tennessee, 47, are sailing to Europe for the first time. Anderson’s third book, Winesburg, Ohio, was a big hit two years ago, and he’s been working at an ad agency in Chicago, but the Andersons wouldn’t have been able to afford this trip on their own. Sherwood’s benefactor, journalist and music critic Paul Rosenfeld, just turned 31, is accompanying them and paying for Sherwood’s expenses at least. He wants to introduce them around to the other American ex-patriate writers and artists in Paris this summer.
Sherwood and Tennessee Anderson
Novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, 24, and his wife Zelda, 20, are sailing to Europe for the first time.
Their first stop will be London where, thanks to a letter of introduction from Fitzgerald’s Scribner’s editor, Maxwell Perkins, 36, they plan to meet with one of Scribner’s other legendary authors, John Galsworthy, 53.
But the Fitzgeralds are mostly looking forward to the next leg of their journey—Paris. They plan to visit with one of their New York friends who has been living there since January as the foreign correspondent for Vanity Fair, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, 29.
Scott had thought of writing a European diary, but Perkins discouraged him so he will work on a new novel instead. His first, This Side of Paradise, did well for Scribner’s, and he recently handed Perkins the finished manuscript of the second, The Beautiful and Damned, to get the money to pay for these tickets.
However, Zelda is about four months pregnant. She’s been feeling sick a lot lately and this sea voyage on the RMS Aquitania isn’t helping.
RMS Aquitania brochure
English painters Vanessa Bell, about to turn 42, and her partner Duncan Grant, 36, are sailing over from London to Paris again. This is their usual spring and/or summer trip. This time they plan to visit with two of the painters whom they admire, Andre Derain, 40, and Pablo Picasso, 39, both of whom they met at a Gordon Square party two summers ago. Duncan is bringing along one of his current lovers.
On the Left Bank, ex-pat English-language bookshop owner Sylvia Beach, 34, is looking forward to attending a play reading tonight a few blocks away at the French-language bookshop of her partner, Adrienne Monnier, 29.
Today, May 28th, the Paris Tribune, European edition of the Chicago Tribune, is running a big feature article about Sylvia and her store, Shakespeare & Co., written by a friend.
Literary Adventurer. American Girl Conducts Novel Bookstore Here”
includes pictures of Sylvia and refers to her as “an attractive as well as a successful pioneer.”
Chicago Tribune Paris edition nameplate
What’s most important is that the article mentions Sylvia’s biggest project to date: Her publication of Ulysses, the notorious novel by ex-pat Irish writer James Joyce, 39. Excerpts printed in a New York City magazine have already been ruled to be obscene, and this kind of publicity just increases the drama around her big upcoming publishing event.
The Tribune article warns that
its present publication may mean that Miss Beach will not be allowed to return to America.”
Who cares, thinks Sylvia. Everyone’s coming to Paris.
About 100 Irish Republican Army [IRA] Volunteers who have been milling around outside the Custom House, on the Liffey in Dublin City Centre, rush the building and herd the staff into the main hall. A truck loaded with supplies pulls up, and members of the IRA Dublin Brigade scatter oil and cotton all over the building and set it on fire.
The Custom House on fire
Within about ten minutes, British police arrive in three trucks and exchange fire with the IRA Volunteers inside the building. After about a half hour, the IRA’s ammunition runs out. The rebels are shot by the British as they run away.
Staff inside who have been held hostage by the Volunteers walk out of the building, hands raised, waving white handkerchiefs.
Seven civilians are killed and 11 wounded. 100 people are arrested, mostly IRA members.
The Fire Brigade arrives late because they have been held at their station by other IRA bands. Local government records from throughout the country, dating back to 1600, had been transferred to the Custom House for safekeeping. They are all destroyed.
Tonight, the building, one of the most beautiful in Ireland, called by the IRA the “seat of an alien tyranny,” is still burning.
Six miles south, in the Dublin suburb of Dundrum, Lolly Yeats, 53, co-owner of Cuala Press with her brother, poet William Butler Yeats, 55, is disgusted by this War of Independence raging all around.
Just yesterday she had written to her father in New York City about the horrible IRA ambush ten days ago outside of Galway, of British officers and their friends, which left three dead. The only survivor is Margaret Gregory, 37, widowed daughter-in-law of Lady Augusta Gregory, 69, co-founder with Willie of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre.
Margaret and her British friends were leaving a tennis party when the IRA jumped out and began shooting at their car. Lolly can’t understand why on earth Margaret had been keeping company with British military officers?! Might as well wear a target on her back.
Re-enactment of the Ballyturn ambush
Lady Gregory was in England at the time of the ambush, but returned to the west of Ireland as soon as she heard. When the police questioned Margaret about the identity of the attackers, Augusta had cautioned them that Margaret doesn’t recognize any of the local country folk.
Lolly has heard about the IRA’s burning of the Custom House today. What a waste. The IRA calls it a victory but what about the loss of all those killed and arrested?!
She wrote to her father that what upsets her most is her women neighbors having their houses raided by the British, searching for their sons who have supposedly joined the IRA.
And the damned military curfew that the Brits have imposed has totally ended any social life. No more evenings in the theatre.
The opening of the “Nameless Exhibition” here, sponsored by The Burlington Magazine, has caused a bit of controversy.
Poster for Nameless Exhibition by Roger Fry
The organizers, including Burlington founder and former editor Roger Fry, 54, and Professor of Fine Art at the Slade School Henry Tonks, 59, decided to make a brave move and hang a whole exhibit of paintings with no artists’ names attached. Not on the walls; not in the catalogue. They want to strike a blow against the cult of personality which has gathered around some artists.
Included are works by three of Roger’s Bloomsbury friends, his former lover Vanessa Bell, about to turn 42, her partner Duncan Grant, 36, and Slade School grad, Dora Carrington, 28.
Roger Fry by Vanessa Bell, 1912
Fry can’t wait to tell Vanessa that Tonks has hung one of her works, Visit, quite prominently, unaware that it is by a woman. Tonks goes on incessantly about how women painters are always imitating men.
Even though this is one of Carrington’s first important exhibits, all she is thinking about is her wedding tomorrow.
Carrington has spent the past four years living with and in love with Bloomsbury writer Lytton Strachey, 41, at Mill House in Tidmarsh, Berkshire. Carrington is well aware that Lytton is openly gay, but he is fond of her and is providing her the literary education she lacked. In exchange she paints and runs the household.
About three years ago, into this lovely arrangement walked big, strong, Ralph Partridge, 27, an Oxford friend of Carrington’s younger brother. He’s fallen in love with Carrington and moved into Tidmarsh. And Lytton is interested in him.
Dora Carrington, Ralph Partridge and Lytton Strachey
Now that Ralph has gainful employment—working as an assistant at the Hogarth Press operated by Bloomsbury regulars Virginia Woolf, 39, and her husband Leonard, 40—he can afford to take a wife. Although Lytton is paying for the wedding.
Lytton has spent the past two months convincing Carrington to take the plunge. And the Woolfs approve also.
So Carrington has now agreed. She cries each night and writes Lytton long love letters. Ralph knows she’s not in love with him. Carrington feels this is the way to keep the three together.
Lytton is already in Venice. The newlyweds are going to meet up with him there in a few weeks on their honeymoon.
Ruth Hale, 34, journalist and theatrical agent, received her passport in the mail from the U. S. State Department. It was made out to “Mrs. Broun.”
Well, the only “Mrs. Broun” in her Upper West Side house is the cat. So she refused to accept it.
Four years ago, when she agreed to marry fellow journalist and sportswriter Heywood Broun, 32, they agreed she would keep her surname. Which hasn’t been easy. She fights with authorities every time she has to sign anything.
One of her friends, New York Times reporter Jane Grant, 28, is waging the same battle, with some support from her husband, magazine editor Harold Ross, also 28.
The four of them lunch regularly in midtown at the Algonquin Hotel, with other writers and critics from the city’s major newspapers. And they are often part of late night poker games at Ross and Grant’s apartment. Which Ross expects Grant to clean up after.
At least Hale, who insists on living on a separate floor from Broun in their house, had him agree to split the child care raising their son, Heywood Hale, 3.
The talk at lunch always turns to Hale and Grant complaining about the injustice of being expected to give up their surnames. A few weeks ago, Ross was sick of listening to them and said,
Why don’t you just go hire a hall?”
So here they are at the Hotel Pennsylvania for the founding meeting of the Lucy Stone League.
Ad for the Hotel Pennsylvania
They have managed to cajole some of their other lunch buddies to join, including FPA [Franklin Pierce Adams], 39, the top columnist in Manhattan; Neysa McMein, 33, an illustrator whose apartment has become a favorite haunt for the group; and Beatrice Kaufman, 26, publicist and wife of the playwright George S Kaufman, 31.
Broun joins; Ross doesn’t. And one of their woman friends from the Algonquin gang says no also: Dorothy Rothschild Parker, 27, tells them,
I married to change my name.”
The Lucy Stone League honors the 19th century suffragist who was the first American woman to use her birth name even after she married. Guess she never needed a passport.
With this group of writers and PR women involved, the League won’t have trouble getting the word out. However, the Times reporter is referring to them as “The Maiden Namers.”
Just nine months ago American women finally secured, through the 19th Amendment, the right to vote in all elections. Among the rights the League’s founders—Hale as President, Grant as Secretary-Treasurer—feel they will have to fight for include opening a bank account, holding a copyright, registering at a hotel, and signing up for a store account, an insurance policy, or a library card.
American ex-patriate writer Robert McAlmon, 26, and his new British wife, Bryher, 26, have moved to Paris after visiting her wealthy family in London for their honeymoon.
Bob is planning to use his wife’s inheritance, along with the allowance her family is giving him, to start a small publishing company, Contact Press, named after the Contact magazine he founded in New York late last year with a fellow poet.
When they first got to Paris, the McAlmons made a point of visiting the English-language bookstore, Shakespeare & Co. on the Left Bank, and signing up as members of the lending library. They are using the shop as an address and stopping by every day to pick up their mail.
There is a real buzz in the store. The owner, another American ex-pat, Sylvia Beach, 33, is working on a major project. She has offered to publish Ulysses, the latest work by Irish novelist James Joyce, 39, even though excerpts from it were recently ruled obscene in New York City when they appeared in The Little Review there.
Sylvia Beach at Shakespeare & Co.
McAlmon and Joyce have become good friends. In London, Bob had received a letter of introduction from Harriet Shaw Weaver, 44, one of his benefactors and owner of The Egoist Press, to meet the Irish novelist. He and Bryher have been supporting the Joyces with a $150 per month stipend, and McAlmon is helping to type parts of the—very messy—manuscript as Joyce writes it.
At the shop, everyone is pitching in to mail out a prospectus and order forms to potential subscribers to Ulysses, which is planned to come out in the fall. As orders come in, Beach records them in separate green record books for each country. The biggest single order—25 copies—has come from the Washington Square Bookshop in Greenwich Village, one of the original defendants in the obscenity case. Bryher is helping out by setting up a system of alphabetical pigeon holes for the incoming mail.
At night, McAlmonand Joyce, sometimes joined by French writer Valery Larbaud, 39, make the rounds of the clubs and dance halls. They particularly like Gipsy’s on the Boulevard St. Michel. McAlmon staggers from table to table getting drunken patrons to fill out order forms for the novel. He brings what he calls another “Hasty Bunch” of signed forms to the shop on his way home early in the morning, after having been thrown out of the last club along with his two comrades. Sylvia can barely make out the scrawly handwriting.
McAlmon is popular on the Left Bank for his charming personality, of course, but also because he can buy the drinks. Lots of drinks. He and Larbaud had to bring Joyce home one night in a wheelbarrow. Joyce’s partner and mother of his children, Nora Barnacle, 37, admonished him,
Jim, what is it all ye find to jabber about the nights you’re brought home drunk for me to look after? You’re dumb as an oyster now, so God help me.”
Eleanor Beach, 59, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, is enjoying her crossing. She’s looking forward to seeing her daughters—she calls them her “chicks”—who live in Europe now.
But Eleanor is concerned about the precious parcel in her luggage.
Her adventurous daughter Sylvia, 34, has not only opened her own business, a bookstore on the Left Bank of Paris called Shakespeare & Co., but now she’s become a publisher too. She’s offered to publish the scandalous novel, Ulysses, by Irish ex-patriate writer James Joyce, 39. Earlier this year, a court in New York declared excerpts which appeared in a magazine to be obscene, so no decent publisher will touch it.
Sylvia snapped up the opportunity.
A wealthy New York lawyer, John Quinn, 51, is buying copies of the handwritten manuscript to keep some cash flowing to Joyce. Just last month he received in the mail the text of the “Circe” section of the novel.
James Joyce’s “Circe” manuscript
Good thing. Back in Paris, one of the many typists working on the book had her copy seized by her outraged husband and thrown into the fire! Apparently he agreed with the New York court. The typist salvaged what she could, but Joyce and Beach implored Quinn to send his copy back so it can be typed.
That’s where Eleanor comes in. For the past few weeks she has been calling Quinn asking if he would entrust her with the manuscript to bring along on her voyage over.
He has consistently said no. Over and over again. And, as she pointed out to her daughter, he used “language unfit” for a minister’s wife like Mrs. Beach.
Finally, the rude man agreed to have the pages of the manuscript photographed so Mrs. Beach could take the pictures with her instead.
Eleanor is well aware of the importance of the parcel in the luggage which she is bringing to Paris.
As soon as he wakes up, English art critic CliveBell, 39, can’t wait to draft a letter to his mistress back in London, writer Mary Hutchinson, 32, about his memorable evening the night before.
Clive and some friends started with drinks at Les Deux Magots in Place Saint-Germain des Prés, moving on to dinner at Marchaud’s, a few blocks away at rue Jacob and rue des Saints-Peres,where there were bound to be a lot of Americans. The food is good and it’s very affordable.
One of Clive’s friends sees two men he knows in the next room and invites them over to the table. Clive tells Mary that he didn’t recognize one of the men, but was told he is
a bad sort—speaks only about his own books and their value in a French [accent] out of an opera bouffe. And who do you think [he] was? The creature immediately thrust an immense card under my nose and on it was the name of your favorite author—James Joyce. His companion, who happily spoke not one word of French, was called [Robert] McAlmon…and gives himself out as the most intimate friend of the well-known American poet—T. S. Eliot. God what a couple. Joyce did not seem stupid, but pretentious, underbred and provincial beyond words: And what an accent. McAlmon is an American. They both think nobly of themselves, well of Ezra Pound and poorly of Wyndham Lewis…The little nuisance [who had brought the two over] broke in drunkenly on Joyce’s incessant monologue of self-appreciation. [Joyce looks like] exactly what a modern genius ought to be…like something between an American traveller in flash jewellery and a teacher in a Glasgow socialist Sunday school.”
Clive decides that in his wanderings around Paris he is going to avoid Joyce.
Lily Yeats, 54, co-owner of Cuala Press with her sister, is writing to their father, painter John Butler Yeats, 82, in New York City.
Lily Yeatsat Bedford Square, by her father John Butler Yeats
The family has given up begging him to move back home; Lily is writing to vent her fears about the Irish War of Independence which seems to be raging all around her.
The war started with the Easter Rising over five years ago. Since last year the Black and Tans—unemployed war-weary soldiers from the Great War who have been recruited into the Royal Irish Constabulary, the British occupying force—have been violently marauding throughout the country.
The Black and Tans outside a Dublin hotel
Even in this posh Dublin suburb, three lorries of the thugs came racing down a nearby street the other night. The Yeats’ maid had to fall face down on the road to avoid being shot.
At the beginning of the year a British commission published a report strongly criticizing their behavior, and both the British Labour and Liberal parties have lambasted the Conservative government for its policy of violence to the Irish people.
Just this month, Pope Benedict XV, 66, issued a letter urging the
English as well as Irish to calmly consider…some means of mutual agreement.”
The Brits had thought he was going to condemn the rebellion. Now he’s saying that there are bad people on both sides.
A few months ago, Lily’s brother, poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 55, now living safely in Berkshire, England, took part in an Oxford debate condemning the British policy. As he does, Willie spoke while dramatically striding up and down the aisles of the auditorium. It worked. He won the debate in favor of Irish self-government and against British reprisals.
Lily is writing to her Da,
if the present state of affairs goes on, England will have no friends left in Ireland…some say the Crown forces were very drunk—drunk or sober they are ruffians—what will dear England do with them when the time comes—it must come sometime that they have to be disbanded?”
We interrupt our usual chronicling of what was happening in the literary 1920s to report on the early response to the first book of these blogs, “Such Friends”: The Literary 1920s, Volume I—1920, by your blog host, Kathleen Dixon Donnelly, published three months ago today.
I love it…Your voice carried over a number of pages sequentially is very effective and idiosyncratic. When they are read together they have a presence…You’ve invented a new genre—vignettes with verve!…I continue to pick up “Such Friends“ regularly and just start reading…I read a few and then think “Well, time to do something else.” And then I want to turn the pages and read a few more. You have invented a new sort of page turner. Collectively, they are also giving me a feel for the time.”—New York Academic Fan
Thanks to all of you who have passed on to me your positive thoughts about “Such Friends.”
Cover design by Lisa Thomson
I really like the format. The small vignettes are great for a quick read and even sharing with friends and students. I also love Lady Gregory’s famous beech tree on the cover!”—Ohio Academic Fan
You’ve made some excellent suggestions [and corrections—Oops!] which will be incorporated into the upcoming volumes.
A chronological journey through the most extraordinary of years…Fun to pick up on any page and travel back in time.”—Connecticut The Great Gatsby fan
If you’re following this “Such Friends” blog you’ve been reading the postings that will become Volume II—1921, hopefully available before the end of this year.
The book looks great and although I planned to read a couple of pages to get the flavor of the text, I ended up reading page after page after page—delightful, fascinating, lively anecdotes, information and graphics!”—Bloomsbury Group Fan
“Such Friends” can be an ideal gift for any of your literary “such friends.” You know they like to read, but how can you avoid buying them a book they’ve already read?! With “Such Friends” you are giving them the gift of great gossip about their favorite early 20th century writers.
Kind of fun and light. It’s a reminder that geniuses are still just people…These are highly revered writers we don’t get to meet personally. We also get a good sense that politically and socially nothing is new under the sun.”—Former College Roomie Fan
So get your copies now! Both print and e-book formats are available on Amazon.
It’s like meeting them in person. I studied them in school so reading your book brings them back, but with a personal feel…It put us in the room with them. You brought them to life.”—South Florida Writer Fan
And if you are in Pittsburgh, and easily accessible by bus, I will hand deliver your personally signed copy!
I am still enjoying dipping into “Such Friends,” rationing it like a box of chocolates…I tend to read a page or two before I sleep—I think it enhances the quality of my dreams.—Irish inLondon Playwright Fan