By Kathleen Dixon Donnelly
In the early years of the 20th century, it was common for writers and artists on both sides of the Atlantic to gather in living rooms, drawing rooms, pubs and cafes to discuss the latest happenings in the arts, read to each other from their latest works, and gossip.
On either side of World War I, in the English-speaking Western world, there were four groups—the Irish Literary Renaissance, the Bloomsbury Group, the Americans in Paris, and the Algonquin Round Table—with remarkably similar salons. To see lists of all the members of each group, just hover over the ‘categories’ to the right.
They worked on projects—the Abbey Theater for the Irish, the Omega Workshops for some of the Bloomsberries—but mostly they just ‘hung out.’ They had places in the city and places in the country that they decorated and made their own.
The burst of creativity that became modernism was brought about by men and women of extraordinary talent and very ordinary pursuits. They ate, they drank, they neglected their families. They praised and berated each other privately and publicly; they bickered endlessly. They complained about money and few of them had “day jobs.” And they talked. And talked.
All the pages and postings on this site are based on my research for my Ph. D. in Communications from Dublin City University about these writers and artists. If you click on any of the pages below, you will find short pieces, timelines and lots of information about the writers, artists and their friends.
I am currently working on a book, ‘Such Friends’: A Scrapbook Almanac of Writers’ Salons, 1897-1930, and would love to have your feedback on the site and the writings. Leave a comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.