“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, July 22, 1922, Toronto Daily Star, Toronto; and Saturday Evening Post magazine, New York City, New York

“A Veteran Visits the Old Front” by the paper’s foreign correspondent, American Ernest Hemingway, just turned 23, appears in the Toronto Daily Star:

PARIS.—Don’t go back to visit the old front. If you have pictures in your head of something that happened in the night in the mud at Paschendaele or of the first wave working up the slope of Vimy, do not try and go back to verify them. It is no good…

Ernest Hemingway in Italy during the Great War

Go to someone else’s front, if you want to. There your imagination will help you out and you may be able to picture the things that happened…I know because I have just been back to my own front…

I have just come from Schio,…the finest town I remember in the war, and I wouldn’t have recognized it now—and I would give a lot not to have gone…

All the kick had gone out of things. Early next morning I left in the rain after a bad night’s sleep…

I tried to find some trace of the old trenches to show my wife, but there was only the smooth green slope. In a thick prickly patch of hedge we found an old rusty piece of shell fragment…That was all there was left of the front.

For a reconstructed town is much sadder than a devastated town. The people haven’t their homes back. They have new homes. The home they played in as children, the room where they made love with the lamp turned down, the hearth where they sat, the church they were married in, the room where their child died, these rooms are gone…Now there is just the new, ugly futility of it all. Everything is just as it was—except a little worse…

I had tried to re-create something for my wife and had failed utterly. The past was as dead as a busted Victrola record. Chasing yesterdays is a bum show—and if you have to prove it, go back to your old front.”


This same day, “Welcome Home” by New York free-lance writer Dorothy Parker, 28, appears in the Saturday Evening Post:

If at any time you happened to be hunting around for an average New York couple you couldn’t make a better selection than my friends [Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Watson Lunt]…

Saturday Evening Post, July 22

Once a year, however, the Lunts lay aside the cloistered life, and burn up Broadway. This is on the occasion of the annual metropolitan visit of Mr. Lunt’s Aunt Caroline, from the town where he spent his boyhood days…

The moment she sets foot in the Grand Central Terminal she compares it audibly and unfavorably with the new railroad station back home, built as soon as a decent interval had elapsed after the old one burned to the ground…

In the short ride to the Lunt apartment she manages to work in at least three times the line about ‘New York may be all right for a visit, but I wouldn’t live here if you gave me the place.’…

Dorothy Parker

Once a year, when advertising in America can manage to stagger along without Mr. Lunt for three or four days, the Lunts do their share in the way of tightening up the home ties by paying a visit to Aunt Caroline…She meets them at the train, beaming with welcome and bubbling with exclamations of how glad they must be to get out of that horrid old New York…

And so the time goes by, till the Lunts must return to New York. Aunt Caroline is annually pretty badly broken up over their leaving for that awful city…

The only thing that keeps her from going completely to pieces is the thought that she has again brought into their sultry lives a breath of real life.

The Lunts blow the annual kisses to her from the parlor-car window…As Mr. Lunt sums it up, it’s all right for a visit, but he wouldn’t live there if you gave him the place.”

You can read the full Hemingway article here,  file:///C:/Users/Kathleen%20Donnelly/Desktop/KD’S%20STUFF/such%20friends%20good/PARIS/Hemingway_Old_Front.pdf

And the full Parker essay here.  https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112041727428&view=1up&seq=283&skin=2021&q1=dorothy%20parker

“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.com and Amazon.co.uk. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Later in the year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk 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.


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