“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, October 20, 1921, Vienna, Austria

Scofield Thayer, 31, editor of the American literary magazine, The Dial, has come here specifically to be psychoanalyzed by the legendary Professor Sigmund Freud, 65, for a fee of $100 per week.

Sigmund Freud’s house in Vienna

On the way from New York to Vienna, Thayer stopped off for a bit in Paris, meeting up with one of his magazine’s main contributors, American poet Ezra Pound, about to turn 36, who was kind enough to introduce him around to other ex-pats such as writer Gertrude Stein, 47. and her partner Alice B. Toklas, 44.

With him in Paris was yet another American poet, E. E. Cummings, just turned 27. Thayer has been helping to raise the daughter Cummings fathered two years ago with Thayer’s wife, Elaine Orr Thayer, 25. Scofield and Elaine have just recently finalized their divorce.

Elaine Thayer and her daughter

While Scofield is living in Vienna, which he plans will be for the next two years, he is still running The Dial. He supervises the contents, approves layouts, and tries to drum up some investment from wealthy Europeans he knows.

Thayer has decided to abandon his European expansion plans for his magazine. Another of his ex-pat poet contributors, Tom Eliot, 33, and he have been in talks with Lady Margaret Rothermere, 47, wife of the publisher of the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, about funding a UK version of The Dial.

But it has become clear that Lady Rothermere is more interested in supporting a new magazine that Eliot has proposed—The Criterion—rather than the expansion of an existing one from the States.

Withdrawing from the field, today Thayer writes to Eliot’s wife Vivien, 33, who is now handling all of Tom’s correspondence, that “the multiplication of magazines” in the market would not be a good thing: 

The more artistic journals you publish the more money is wasted on printers, and paper dealers and the less is left for the artists themselves.”

Scofield Thayer

“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.

Next week I will be speaking 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.

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