“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, May, 1921, en route to and in Paris

Everyone’s coming to Paris…

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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume 1 covering 1920 is available in print and e-book format on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I will be talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins’ relationships with 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, download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

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