When New York publisher Horace Liveright, 37, planned his month-long European trip, this is exactly the kind of evening he had hoped for.
His host and facilitator is American ex-pat poet Ezra Pound, 36, whom Liveright has never met. Through correspondence, Pound has been keeping Liveright abreast of all the latest publishers and writers working in Paris and London, and this trip is Ezra’s chance to introduce them to Horace.
Liveright had predicted correctly to his wife that this time in Paris with Ezra would be the “best of all” the trip.
Their companions for tonight are two of the ex-pat writers Liveright most wants to meet. American Thomas Stearns Eliot, 33, living in London but visiting Paris for two weeks, and Irishman James Joyce, 39, whose much talked about novel, Ulysses, declared obscene by the courts in the US, is nevertheless due to be published here early next month.
T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound
Liveright wants to sign up all three, and firmly believes in mixing contracts with cocktails. It is rumored that the bootleggers visiting his Manhattan office often outnumber the writers. Eliot’s favored tipple is gin, but the other three are not particularly selective.
Liveright would like to publish some of Pound’s poetry, and he trusts Ezra’s high opinion of Eliot’s work.
Pound would like to see Eliot published more broadly, to get him enough income so he can leave his godawful bank clerk’s job in London. In the two weeks they are here together in Paris, they are going to work intensively revising Eliot’s untitled latest long poem. Pound tries pitching that one to Liveright, who is concerned it might not be long enough to be book-length.
Joyce would like to see Ulysses published in America but seems unimpressed with Liveright’s offer of $1,000 upfront. Pound is aghast. Why wouldn’t Joyce want that kind of money?
Pound is not aware that Liveright had offered to publish Ulysses once before. But he wanted to make changes; Joyce refuses to let anyone change even one word. For now, he will stick with the deal he has in Paris. American bookstore owner Sylvia Beach, 34, is bringing out Ulysses in a few weeks, word for word, the way Joyce wrote it.
“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 as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On February 3, 2022, we will be celebrating the 148th birthday of my fellow Pittsburgh native Gertrude Stein, at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill. You can register for this free event, or sign up to watch it via Zoom, here.
Early in the new year I am talking about the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses at the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.
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.