Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins, 36, knows that he has to be really upbeat and optimistic.
He has received a letter from his star author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 24, whose second novel, The Beautiful and Damned, will be serialized in Metropolitan magazine next month. Scribner’s predicts it will be as big a hit as his first book, published last year, This Side of Paradise.
Fitzgerald is back home in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he and his wife, Zelda, 21, have moved to await the birth of their first child.
626 Goodrich Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota, which the Fitzgeralds rented
With the royalties from Paradise, the Fitzgeralds sailed to Europe earlier this year, but the trip was pretty disastrous as Zelda was sick the whole time.
Thanks to Perkins, they did meet with one of Scribner’s older stars, English novelist John Galsworthy, 54, when they were in London. Perkins had written to Galsworthy that their meeting “may turn out to have done [Fitzgerald] a great deal of good, for he needs steering.”
Now Perkins is worried about the latest letter from Scott. He says that he has had a “hell of a time” trying to write again.
Loafing puts me in this particular obnoxious and abominable gloom. My third novel, if I ever write another, will I am sure be black as death with gloom…I should like to sit down with half dozen chosen companions and drink myself to death but I am sick alike of life, liquor and literature. If it wasn’t for Zelda I think I’d disappear out of sight for three years. Ship as a sailor or something & get hard—I’m sick of the flabby semi-intellectual softness in which I flounder with my generation.”
Max puts as much enthusiasm as he can into his reply:
Everybody that practices the last [literature] is at uncertain intervals weary of the first [life], but that is the very time they are likely to take strongly to the second [liquor].”
Perkins also extols the benefits of being in the St. Paul weather because Scott will want to stay inside and write most of the time.
Harriet Shaw Weaver, 44, publisher of the Egoist magazine, founder of the Egoist Press, and benefactor of many novelists and poets, has come to a decision.
She has heard rumors that one of the writers she supports [well, at least one] uses the money she sends to regularly get drunk. Irish novelist James Joyce, 39, living in Paris, has written to assure her that these are just rumors. Although he does mention that he probably drinks a bit too much.
Weaver has decided that Joyce’s bad habits are irrelevant in the face of his tremendous talent. Not only is she going to continue to support him, she is going to become his only publisher in the United Kingdom. For £15 she purchases the rights to his book of poetry published 14 years ago, Chamber Music, as well as, for £150, the copyrights to his early short story collection, Dubliners, and his play, Exiles.
James Joyce’s Chamber Music
Joyce has told her that American ex-patriate Sylvia Beach, 34, has offered to publish his novel-in-progress, Ulysses, through her Paris bookstore, Shakespeare & Co. Harriet is working with Sylvia to time the publication of the novel in England so that it doesn’t hurt sales of Beach’s publication in Paris.
Joyce assures both women that he’s optimistic the novel could still be ready this fall.
In Paris, after Joyce collapses in a music hall from the strain of working 16 hours a day on his book, he decides to change his work habits.
Now he limits writing and revising Ulysses to five or six hours each day and spends more time on eight-mile walks around Paris.
His eye pain has become a bit more bearable, and he is working on 10 different episodes in the novel at the same time. Joyce has revised one section, “Aeolus,” to incorporate headlines which weren’t in any of the excerpts which appeared in the American magazine TheLittle Review. This changes the orientation of the second half of the book, which is being sent off to a printer in Dijon to be set into galleys.
The printer comes back to Joyce with all kinds of questions. Why so many compound words? Those are usually two words. Are you sure you want them as one word? Only one of the men who works there has any grasp of the English language at all.
And Joyce and Beach are running out of typists. They have all tried for a while and then given up in frustration over Joyce’s handwritten color-coded insertions to be incorporated into the text.
Recently they have enlisted an American drinking buddy of Joyce’s, fellow novelist and sometimes publisher Robert McAlmon, 26. He is doing his best with the four notebooks full of changes marked in red, yellow, blue, purple and green in Joyce’s scrawl.
For the first few pages of the all-important “Penelope” section, McAlmon is meticulous about determining exactly where Joyce means each phrase to go. He has even re-typed a whole page to make sure everything is in the right place.
But after a bit, McAlmon muses, does it really matter when the character Molly Bloom thinks this, that or the other? What difference does it make if those thoughts go here, or there, or a few pages later, or maybe not at all. So he just puts them in wherever he is typing.
Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 56, and his wife Georgie, 28, are over the moon about the birth of their second child, Michael Butler Yeats, now three days old.
W. B. and Georgie Yeats
Willie had cabled his father, painter John Butler Yeats, 82, and their friend, Irish-American lawyer John Quinn, 51, both in New York City, as soon as he knew Michael and Georgie were okay. He doesn’t mention the baby’s name because he knows his Dad will be disappointed that the newest Yeats isn’t named for him.
Today he is writing to Quinn that his son is “better looking than a newborn canary.” And that he thinks his daughter, Anne, 2, is flirting with him.
Before Michael’s birth, Georgie’s doctor had warned Willie that not all babies are as well behaved as their first, Anne. But the new Dad is so thrilled that it’s a boy, he is not worried about any future behavior problems. He’s just glad everyone is healthy.
Downstairs in their big house, Georgie is ushering in an “electrician”—actually a doctor. She has sworn the staff to secrecy about Michael’s illness so Willie won’t worry. She hopes he doesn’t notice the maid who is crying.
Spoiler alert: Michael overcame his illness and lived to a ripe old age. I met him in 2004.
Novelist Edward Morgan Forster, 42, has awoken from a bad dream and feels relieved.
To attend this two-day festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna, Forster has moved from his three-room furnished suite to these rooms in the Old Palace, which offer a better view.
In his dream, Forster was back home in England with his mother Lily, 66, and his cat, Verouka. He dreamt that he had shown Verouka a mechanical doll that scared him. The cat was running round and round in the room above, making a terrible racket.
Forster’s relief comes as he realizes the racket is from a steam engine that is generating electricity for the festival outside his window.
Morgan left England—and his annoying mother—on his second trip to India more than five months ago.
At the beginning of the year, Morgan had written to his primary publisher that he would notify him if he ever got around to writing another book. His third and fourth novels, A Room with a View and Howards End have done well. But they were both published more than a decade ago.
Despairing of his mundane life and his inability to write, Forster prophesied to a friend,
I shall go [on] some long and fantastic journey; but we do not yet know whither or when. I am so sad at the bottom of my mind.”
Days later he received a cable from an old, dear friend, Sir Tukoji Rao IV, the Maharajah of Dewas State, 33, with whom he shares a January 1st birthday.
Sir Tukoji Rao IV
HH, as he is always referred to, decided—for some unfathomable reason—that Forster would be the ideal person to stand in for his private secretary who is going on six-month leave. HH offered Morgan paid return fare and expenses, 300 rupees per month, and his own young male concubine. Morgan had no idea what a “private secretary” would do. Still doesn’t.
But Forster jumped at the chance for a “fantastic journey,” renewed his passport and booked passage to India as soon as he could. Also, he knew his sea voyage would include a brief stopover in Port Said, Egypt, where he hoped to meet up with his Egyptian former lover.
E. M. Forster
His mother emphatically did not want him to leave and became a real pain. His friends in Bloomsbury were not happy either, but slightly more understanding. Fellow novelist Virginia Woolf, 39, thinks she will never see him again; he will become a mystic and forget about his despised life back home in Weybridge. Besides the fact that she likes having him around, Virginia looks to Morgan’s opinions on her writing. The rest of his Bloomsbury friends just think he’s running away from home.
Which he is.
He did spend four idyllic hours in Port Said having sex on a chilly beach with his Egyptian lover.
But now that he is “away,” what’s he supposed to do?! Morgan knows that he doesn’t have the skills necessary to organize the chaotic finances of the palace, and he isn’t any better at supervising the gardens, the garages, or the electricity. He tried to start a literary society, but attendance was patchy and engagement by the participants non-existent. HH asked that Morgan read aloud to him every day; this happens maybe once a month.
Morgan should be using all his free time to write. He had planned to work on what he has called his “Indian Manuscript” which he had started before the Great War. Now he feels that the words on the page melt in the Indian humidity. All he is able to write are deceptively cheery letters back home.
The only bright spots are the instalments on royalties he is receiving from Virginia’s Hogarth press for his supernatural fiction, The Story of the Siren; the most recent was last month on the first anniversary of its publication. The fact that it has sold at all maybe means that he shouldn’t give up trying to write.
Hadley Richardson, 29, visiting from St. Louis, feels that last night, at this posh hotel, for the first time, she “really got to know” her fiancé, free-lance journalist Ernest Hemingway, 22.
Virginia Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
Hadley and Ernest had only seen each other twice before they got engaged this spring. But they write lots of letters to each other. And her Ernesto writes great letters.
When she came to Chicago earlier this year to meet his parents, Hadley had to bring a chaperone. Now that they are engaged, she has booked herself into the Virginia Hotel.
Hadley’s sister, and quite a few of Ernest’s friends, don’t think this marriage is a good idea. But Hadley does. She has her own inheritance so doesn’t have to depend on her family’s good wishes.
Earlier this summer, she was trying to get Hemingway to tell her exactly how old he is and what exactly he did during the Great War. Hadley was putting together an announcement for their engagement party and told him to come up with
a magnificent lie about your age in case anyone is curious enough to inquire—also tell me what events I can brag of without being a perfect fool about you.”
Ernie says that he served in the Italian Army, and she is guessing that he turned at least 23 in July, when she gave him a typewriter for his birthday.
Ernest’s day job involves editing a house organ, but he is trying to sell enough of his free-lance work to support himself without that income. Earlier this year he had a piece published about the Dempsey-Carpentier fight, building on his knowledge of boxing, but his poetry is continually rejected. He has stopped sending poems to Poetry magazine, hoping he will fare better with TheDial. They often publish poems by his friend and mentor, successful novelist Sherwood Anderson, 44. But—no luck.
Despite Ernest’s evasiveness, and although he didn’t come to visit her in St. Louis as he promised last New Year’s Eve, Hadley is confident in his talent and is convinced that they are right for each other.
They were introduced at a party last fall by Ernest’s friend, advertising copywriter Y. Kenley Smith, 33, and Hadley’s friend, Smith’s sister Kate, 29. But Ernie hasn’t been getting on so well with Kenley these days. He and Hadley have decided that they are not going to move in with Smith and his wife after their wedding in a few weeks. And Kenley has been disinvited from the reception to be held at the Hemingway home in nearby Oak Park.
Irish-American lawyer John Quinn, 51, is sailing back to New York, via London.
On this European trip he has concentrated on just Paris—not Ireland, not England, which he visited in the past few years. And his focus has paid off.
Travel Guide, London-Paris
He sent his ambassador [and lover], Mrs. Jeanne Foster, 42, ahead to arrange meetings with painters and their dealers.
She did a magnificent job. As a result, he’s coming back with arrangements to buy a sculpture and three paintings by Spaniard Pablo Picasso, 39, as well as works by Romanian painter and sculptor, Constantin Brancusi, 45, and French painters Andre Derain, 41, and Andre de Segonzac, 37.
More important to Quinn, he has developed personal friendships with the artists and their dealers.
John Quinn and Constantin Brancusi
Quinn also visited the English-language bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, owned by American ex-patriate Sylvia Beach, 34. He had advised her to move from her “shabby” location and Quinn approves of her new site on rue de l’Odeon. From here she plans to publish the monumental novel Ulysses by Irish ex-pat James Joyce, 39. Quinn is supporting Joyce financially by buying up the manuscript as it is written. Support the artist as well as the art.
Now Quinn is going back to the law office he thinks of as a prison.
American novelist Sherwood Anderson, 44, and his wife Tennessee, 47, are heading back to his New York job, half-heartedly doing public relations for an independent movie company, via London.
His first trip to Europe has been what he’d dreamt of. After he visited Shakespeare and Company, Beach introduced him to Joyce and they had a few lunches together. Unfortunately, to get the conversation started the first time, Anderson asked Joyce what he thought of Ireland. Bad move.
Anderson told Beach he will spread the word among his American literary friends about her upcoming publication of Ulysses. Sherwood gave Sylvia a list of names and as many addresses as he could remember for her to use to solicit subscriptions. He even added personal notes to the prospectuses she is sending out.
Sherwood thinks of the job waiting for him in New York as a joke. He still has some advertising accounts to bring in income, but he’s not in a rush to go back to Chicago.
American writer Edmund Wilson, 26, is heading back to his New York job, managing editor of Vanity Fair, via London. He enjoyed his time in Paris these past few weeks but doesn’t think he really got a feel for the city.
Vanity Fair, August 1921
Wilson spent most of his time tracking down and trying to lure back his former lover from New York City, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, 29, living in Paris as Vanity Fair’s European editor. Wilson has pushed and published her work in the magazine. But it’s clear that Millay has moved on from Edmund. To some British newspaperman.
Last month Wilson wrote to one of the magazine’s other editors,
I found [Millay] in a very first-rate hotel on the Left Bank and better dressed, I suppose, than she has ever been before in her life. You were right in guessing that she was well cared for as she had never been before…[She] told me she wanted to settle down to a new life: She was tired of breaking hearts and spreading havoc.”
American novelist Sinclair Lewis, 36, is heading to Paris from London.
Last year his sixth novel, Main Street, was a bestseller. However, he lost out on the Pulitzer Prize to The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, 59. Apparently, Main Street, with its focus on the hypocrisy in a small Midwest town, didn’t fit the jury’s criteria of a novel “which shall best present the wholesome atmosphere of American life.”
Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
Lewis is bringing along another American writer whom he has just met in London, Harold Stearns, 30, whose book America and the Young Intellectual is coming out this year. Lewis plans to spend only a few days in Paris, but Stearns is going to stay on in Montparnasse, on the Left Bank.
Over on the Right Bank, American composer Virgil Thomson, 24, is settling into Paris and his temporary residence at the home of a French family on the rue de Provence.
At the beginning of the month, Virgil had bid a not-too-sad farewell to his fellow students in the Harvard Glee Club. The group has just completed a triumphant tour of France, with Virgil as accompanist. He was also the understudy for the conductor, and actually got a chance to step into the maestro’s shoes one night. Now they are all heading back to America.
Except Virgil. With his well-earned scholarship, he is going to stay here in Paris for a whole year.
Virgil has, of course, already been to Shakespeare and Company in rue de l’Odeon and signed up for Beach’s lending library. He is planning to move closer to the studio of Nadia Boulanger, 34, with whom he will be studying composition. His new residence at 20 rue de Berneis, a 10-minute walk from Boulanger, is in a less than desirable neighborhood. The street, and the building, are overwhelmed with what Virgil refers to as “daughters of joy.”
Marc Connelly, 30, and George S Kaufman, 31, are here for the opening of their first major production, the three-act comedy Dulcy.
When they came to New York City from different towns in western Pennsylvania—separately—to start their careers, this is exactly what each of them had in mind.
After getting a few things published in the city’s daily newspapers, and working on a few theatre projects, last year Connelly and Kaufman were approached by two of the biggest Broadway producers, George C. Tyler, 53, and Harry Frazee, 41. The latter, owner of the Boston Red Sox, had within a few months last year sold his top player, legendary slugger Babe Ruth, 26, to the New York Yankees, and then bought this theatre.
Tyler and Frazee wanted the playwrights to come up with a starring vehicle for a young British actress, Lynn Fontanne, 33, who had appeared in a couple of Broadway shows in the past few years.
The young pair turned to one of their friends in the group of writers they lunch with regularly at the nearby Algonquin Hotel, the most-read columnist in the city, FPA [Franklin Pierce Adams], 39. In his New York Tribune column “The Conning Tower,” FPA has created a recurring ditzy character called Dulcy, short for Dulcinea, after the heroine of Don Quixote. Connelly and Kaufman thought they could build something around her and offered FPA a 10% cut of the profits.
Lynn Fontanne in Dulcy
The show has been through try-outs in the Midwest—Indiana, Illinois—with Kaufman becoming ever more nervous as this night approached.
Two of their friends from the Algonquin lunches have said that they will review the play. They think Heywood Broun, 32, in the Tribune will probably like the tricky patter. But Alexander Woollcott, 34, drama critic for the Times and Kaufman’s boss there, has already said their play is probably not good enough for Fontanne.
Way back at the beginning of the century, when the Abbey Theatre was in its planning stages, the co-founder, poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, then 39, commissioned his friend and fellow Dubliner George Bernard Shaw, almost 10 years older than Willie, to write a play for the opening.
George Bernard Shaw by Alvin Langdon Coburn
Shaw gave the Abbey John Bull’s Other Island, a long political comedy about an Irishman and his English business partner who come to Ireland to look in to developing some land. Yeats rejected it. The official reason was that he felt they wouldn’t be able to find any actors to do the British characters justice. The real reason was that Yeats couldn’t stand Shaw’s argumentative style of playwriting.
An edited version of the play premiered in London at the Royal Court Theatre that same year, 1904, and made Shaw a big hit with the Brits. Reports are that the king laughed so hard during a performance that he fell off his chair.
Royal Court Theatre, London
John Bull’s Other Island was performed at another theatre in Dublin a few years later. And in 1909, when Abbey co-founder John Millington Synge died at age 37, both Yeats and his other Abbey cofounder, Lady Augusta Gregory, then 52, asked Shaw to step into the vacancy and help guide their theatre. He declined.
Now here is Lady Gregory to guide, what is basically her Abbey, 17 years after its opening. Tomorrow night they are putting on their seventh run of Shaw’s political play.
Abbey Theatre, Dublin
Performances will be this Thursday and Saturday nights, and a Saturday matinee. In the cast is one of their new stars, Barry Fitzgerald, 33, in the role of Tim Haffigan, which he has done six times already.
Barry came to the Abbey a few years ago through his younger brother, who is both actor and stage manager for this production. Despite his breakthrough success last year in one of Lady Gregory’s own plays, Barry still works his full-time civil service job. Where he is known by his given name, William Shields. Just to be safe.
In addition to his day job, Fitzgerald is appearing tonight and Friday in a new play by Lady Gregory,Aristotle’s Bellows, and Bedmates by George Shiels, 40, his first play produced here.
Augusta feels that the theatre has reached a stable point in its history. But she is always on the lookout for new blood, both actors and playwrights.
Art critic Clive Bell, 39, is at Charleston Farmhouse which he shares with his estranged wife, painter Vanessa Bell, 42, their two sons, Julian, 13, Quentin, about to turn 11, and assorted other family members and lovers.
Clive is writing to his current mistress, Mary Hutchinson, 32, back in London:
Nothing could exceed the monotony of life at Charleston except the pleasantness of that monotony…One comes down to breakfast as much before 10 as possible, hopes for letters, kills a wasp, smokes a pipe, contemplates nature, writes til lunch, reads the Times, goes for a walk, drinks tea, reads Proust, shaves, writes [a letter]…dines, lights a fire, smokes a cheroot, reads the Grenville memoirs, smokes a pipe, reads Proust, goes to bed. Sometimes it rains.”
Mrs. St. John Hutchinson by Vanessa Bell, 1915
About 10 miles away, at Monk’s House in Rodmell, Vanessa’s sister, novelist Virginia Woolf, 39, is quite unwell and has been losing weight. The sales of her latest book, Monday or Tuesday, are good, and she has started sleeping a bit better, without medication. But her current doctors have her on horrible “milk cures,” which she can’t abide.
Virginia has been unable to do any writing or see any guests for about two months, and confides to her diary,
What a gap! Two whole months rubbed out—These, this morning, the first words I have written—to call writing—for 60 days.”
The eight Chicago White Sox players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series and the 12-member jury all went out to an Italian restaurant to celebrate the players’ acquittal.
The eight defendants in the “Black Sox” trial
Today, Judge Keneshaw Mountain Landis, 54, national commissioner of baseball, at the Commission’s Manhattan offices, issued a statement banning all eight players from having any association with organized baseball. For life.
No playing in the minor leagues. No nominations to the Hall of Fame, no matter how deserved. No touring around the country with barnstorming teams, the way some of the eight have been doing since Landis suspended them last year.
Fans young and old have been sweating in the observers’ seats in the hot courtroom for the past month. Even the trial judge seemed relieved when, after only three hours, the jury returned the not guilty verdict.
The Sox’s star outfielder, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, who turned 33 two days before the trial began, and batted .375 in the series with one HR and six RBIs, said,
When I walked out of Judge Dever’s courtroom in Chicago…I had been acquitted by a 12-man jury in a civil courtroom of all charges, and I was an innocent man in the records.”
Well, not exactly, Joe. The judge’s name was Hugo Friend, and you and the others were found not guilty [not the same as innocent] in a criminal courtroom.
In New York, Judge Landis is not relieved. He believes that all eight men broke the rules of baseball. And he was named the first national commissioner—of both the National and American Leagues—last year to uphold the integrity of the game. Today he issues a statement which says in part:
Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ball game, no player who undertakes or promises to throw a ball game, no player who sits in confidence with a bunch of crooked ballplayers and gamblers, where the ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball again.”