“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, mid-September, 1922, Monk’s House, Rodmell, East Sussex; and Garsington, Oxfordshire, England

Looking back, the weekend was a bit awkward.

Novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, and her husband Leonard, 41, hosted their last house guests for this summer.

Fellow novelist Edward Morgan Forster, 43, arrived on Friday evening, carrying only a fraying backpack for luggage and dressed in old clothes.

American ex-pat poet Thomas Stearns Eliot, about to turn 34, didn’t come until Saturday afternoon, after finishing his day job at Lloyds Bank in the morning. He was dressed a bit more formally.

E. M. Forster and T. S. Eliot at Monk’s House

Morgan kept to himself most of the weekend, writing in his room. Virginia realized that he does better when he is the only weekend guest, not having to mix too much with others he’s not comfortable around.

What was most interesting about the weekend was what was not talked about.

Eliot never mentioned the long poem he’s been working on, which he had read to the Woolfs a few months ago.  Although they did talk about a fund that fellow American ex-pat poet Ezra Pound, 36, living in France, is trying to set up for Eliot so he can leave his bank job. Eliot seems a bit embarrassed by the effort.

Virginia is also a bit envious of Morgan’s confidence over the novel he’s been working on.

He is happy in his novel, but does not want to discuss it,”

she writes in her diary.

And no one mentioned the recent coverage of an extensive report by the War Office Committee which, for two years, has been looking into “shell shock” in veterans from the Great War. It is causing quite a stir. One recommendation is that the medical term be changed to “war neurosis” as some who served never really heard shells.

On Sunday afternoon, after tea, Eliot leaves. The whole atmosphere changes. As Virginia records in her diary, she, Leonard and Morgan, “snuggled in & Morgan became very familiar; anecdotic; simple, gossiping about friends & humming his little tunes,”

*****

Meanwhile, one of Virginia’s Bloomsbury friends, biographer Lytton Strachey, 42, has written to her about a “not very stimulating” weekend he is having at Garsington, the country home of former Liberal MP Philip Morrell, 52, and his wife Ottoline, 49. Lytton describes his hostess to Virginia in less than flattering terms: 

Ottoline was dreadfully degringole [tumbling down in his opinion]…:  her bladder has now gone the way of her wits—a melancholy dribble; and then, as she sits after dinner in the lamplight, her cheek pouches drooping with peppermints, a cigarette between her false teeth, and vast spectacles on her painted nose, the effect produced is extremely agitating. I found I want to howl like an Irish wolf—but perhaps the result produced in you was different.”

Lady Ottoline Morrell

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I through III, covering 1920 through 1922 are available at Thoor Ballylee in Co. Galway, and as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA. They are also on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. 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.

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 also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, Volume III—1922 is now available!

The blog postings about 1922, 100 years ago, continue here. But now you can skip ahead to the end of this landmark year with “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, Volume III—1922 available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book formats.

Cover design by Lisa Thomson

Bookended by the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses in February, and T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land in the autumn, 1922 is often thought of as, not just the most important year in “the literary 1920s,” but the most important year in modernism.

For this reason, Volume III is 30% longer than the first two volumes—almost 130 vignettes full of great gossip about your favorite writers. There’s a beheading, a public suicide, and a celebrity sighting.

Volume III has the same informal layout as the first two, allowing you to dip in and dip out of this story-filled year, or start on January 1st and discover how it develops over 12 months. All three volumes are available on Amazon as print and e-books.

Example of layout

Designed by Lisa Thomson [LisaT2@comcast.net] and created on Amazon by Loral and Seth Pepoon of Selah Press Publishing, Volume III will soon also be available at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and at Thoor Ballylee, William Butler Yeats’ home in Co. Galway in the west of Ireland.

Free-lance writer Dr. Ann Kennedy Smith, recipient of the Women’s History Network Independent Researcher Award 2021-22, and author of the blog Cambridge Ladies’ Dining Society, 1890-1914, chose “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, as one of her “Books of the Year,” saying that the series

presents colourful, diary-like snippets, skilfully woven together, from the daily lives of writers, poets and artists of the Irish Literary Renaissance, the Bloomsbury Group, the Americans in Paris, and the Algonquin Round Table in New York.”

So get your copy now—if you live near any Pittsburgh Regional Transit bus line, I’ll come sign it personally. Just email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Two are just a coincidence—but three are a trend. Seven more to go!

Later in the year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of 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 F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway 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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, late August, 1922, 74 Gloucester Place, Marylebone, London

While English novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, in Rodmell, East Sussex, is struggling to get past page 200 of Ulysses, the book’s author, James Joyce, also 40, is about 70 miles north, here in Marylebone, London, meeting one of his key benefactors, publisher Harriet Shaw Weaver, 45, for the first time.

Gloucester Place, Marylebone

Joyce and Weaver have been corresponding for years; she published his work in her Egoist magazine and his books with her Egoist Press, in addition to supporting him substantially with stipends from her late mother’s inherited money.

Recent treatment Joyce has been receiving for his painful iritis seems to be working, so he decided this would be a good time to make the trip over from his home in Paris with his partner, Nora Barnacle, 38.

When the Joyces arrived here at Harriet’s home, she noticed that he was well-dressed and had excellent manners, but that his huge spectacles accentuate the terrible state that his eyes are in. He and Nora both impressed her with their Irish charm.

James Joyce with eye patch

Harriet is a bit concerned that the Joyces are going all over town by taxi—even Harriet rides the bus sometimes. He blows about £200 in the month they are here.

London taxis and buses

Weaver hadn’t realized until recently just how much personal care Joyce’s Paris publisher, American Sylvia Beach, 35, owner of the Shakespeare and Company bookstore, has been providing for him. In addition to publishing Ulysses this past February, Sylvia has been helping to support the family and making sure Joyce is seeing eye specialists.

Now, toward the end of their trip, Joyce is having a relapse. Harriet arranges a visit to her own eye doctor who, like the French physicians, advises immediate surgery. Joyce figures it’s a good time to head back home to Paris.

Before he and Nora leave, however, they visit with one of his Irish relatives who works here in London. Joyce asks her what her mother back in Ireland thinks of his novel, Ulysses, and she says,

Well, Jim, mother thought it was not fit to read.”

To which Joyce replies,

If Ulysses isn’t fit to read, life isn’t fit to live.”

“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.

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 also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, August 24, 1922, Monk’s House, Rodmell, East Sussex, England

Writing in her diary, writer Virginia Woolf, 40, notes that,

I open the paper and find Michael Collins dead in a ditch.”

Collins, 32, the Commander-in-Chief of Ireland’s National Army, was assassinated two days ago by a sniper while taking the risk of traveling through County Cork, which is under the control of the opposition forces in Ireland’s Civil War, led by Eamon de Valera, 39.

Michael Collins

Woolf is about to launch her third novel, Jacob’s Room and is also working on a short story, “Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street.” And she is still struggling to get through Ulysses by Irish writer James Joyce, 40.

Today, however, she is responding to a letter from an old friend, telling her that Katherine Mansfield, 33, is back in London, staying in Hampstead.

Woolf greatly admires Mansfield. The Hogarth Press, which Virginia operates with her husband Leonard, 41, out of their London home, published Mansfield’s short story Prelude when they first started their company four years ago; it has sold over 200 copies.

Prelude by Katherine Mansfield

But Virginia also looks at Katherine as one of her main rivals. Her current collection, The Garden Party and Other Stories, which Hogarth lost to a more mainstream publisher, “soars in the newspapers & runs up sales skyhigh” as Virginia wrote in her diary.

Katherine has been mostly away from London for the past two years, undergoing experimental treatments in France and Switzerland to treat her tuberculosis. Before returning to London a few weeks ago she wrote another short story and her will.

Staying in Hampstead with painter Dorothy Brett, 38, an old acquaintance of her husband, Katherine has kept to her room, hanging a sign on the door telling visitors to stay away as she is working. She ventures out to attend lectures about the effect on your body of having a “diseased spirit,” and to have experimental radiation treatments.

Dorothy has invited Virginia to join them at one of the regular salons she holds on Thursday evenings in the posh Hampstead house her parents have bought for her. She feels Virginia and Katherine would appreciate the opportunity to see each other again.

Dorothy Brett

As Virginia writes to her Dorothy, she “agonized” over the invitation. It would be great to see people again, back in the city. But would the trip to London just distract her from what she is working on?

Virginia decides she will pass on the salon and make a point to see Katherine next summer when she’s back in town.

“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.

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 also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, August, 1922, New York City, New York; Dublin; and London

In America, Ireland and England, many are still working their way through Ulysses.

In the States, Gilbert Seldes, 29, writes in The Nation,

Today [James Joyce] has brought forth Ulysses…a monstrous and magnificent travesty, which makes him possibly the most interesting and the most formidable of our time….I think that Nietzsche would have cared for the tragic gaiety of Ulysses.”

Gilbert Seldes

*****

In Dublin, poet and artist AE [George Russell, 55] writes to his friend in New York City, Irish-American lawyer John Quinn, 52:  

I see the ability and mastery while not liking the mood…[Joyce is] very Irish…The Irish genius is coming out of its seclusion and [W. B.] Yeats, [John Millington] Synge, [George] Moore, [George Bernard] Shaw, Joyce and others are forerunners. The Irish imagination is virgin soil and virgin soil is immensely productive when cultivated. We are devotees of convention in normal circumstances and when we break away we outrage convention.”

George Russell, AE

Another Irish friend, novelist and poet James Stephens, 42, writes to Quinn that he didn’t even bother to try Ulysses.

It is too expensive to buy and too difficult to borrow, and too long to read, and, from what I have heard about it, altogether too difficult to talk about.”

*****

In London, novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, has been working on a short story, “Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street” while still trying to get through Ulysses. She admits to her diary,

I should be reading Ulysses, & fabricating my case for & against. I have read 200 pages. So far—not a third; & have been amused, stimulated, charmed interested by the first two or three chapters–to the end of the Cemetery scene; & then puzzled, bored, irritated, & disillusioned as by a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples. And Tom [American ex-pat poet T. S. Eliot], great Tom, thinks this on a par with War & Peace! An illiterate, underbred book it seems to me:  the book of a self-taught working man, & we all know how distressing they are, how egotistic, insistent, raw, striking, & ultimately nauseating. When 1 can have the cooked flesh, why have the raw? But I think if you are anemic, as Tom is, there is glory in blood. Being fairly normal myself I am soon ready for the classics again. I may revise this later. I do not compromise my critical sagacity. I plant a stick in the ground to mark page 200…I dislike Ulysses more & more–that is I think it more & more unimportant:  & don’t even trouble conscientiously to make out its meanings. Thank God, I need not write about it.”

But Virginia does write about it to her Bloomsbury friend, biographer and essayist Lytton Strachey, 42:  

Never did I read such tosh. As for the first two chapters we will let them pass, but the 3rd 4th 5th 6th–merely the scratching of pimples on the body of the bootboy at Claridges. Of course genius may blaze out on page 652 but I have my doubts. And this is what Eliot worships…”

Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf

“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.

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 also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, July, 1922, Independent Gallery, 7a Grafton Street, Mayfair, London

The one-person show at the Independent Gallery is going well. Painter Vanessa Bell, 43, has wanted to have her own show for many years now. She was jealous when her partner, painter Duncan Grant, 37, had his first solo exhibit about two years ago. Last winter, when they were in St. Tropez together, she produced several still lifes and interiors which are included here.

7a Grafton Street

There are works by a former member of the Fauve movement, French painter Orthon Friesz, 43, in the next room. But she’s got this one all to herself.

The day after the show opened in May, she wrote to her husband, art critic Clive Bell, 40: 

I am astonished that I have already sold seven pictures and drawings—so at any rate I shan’t be out of pocket over it—[Gallery owner Percy Moore] Turner is very much pleased.”

Last month, her Bloomsbury friend, Roger Fry, 55, gave her a glowing write up in New Statesman. He felt the portrait Woman in Furs, which Vanessa painted three years ago at her East Sussex home, Charleston Farmhouse, is “perhaps the most brilliant thing in the exhibit.”

Woman in Furs by Vanessa Bell

But this month, she received an even more significant review in The Burlington Magazine from the influential painter Walter Sickert, 62: 

Instinct and intelligence and a certain scholarly tact have made her a good painter. The medium bends beneath her like a horse that knows its rider. In the canvas The Frozen Pond…the full resources of the medium in all its beauty have been called in to requisition in a manner which is nothing less than masterly.”

Sickert has praised her work before. But this feels even more satisfying than Roger’s compliments.

After all, she never slept with Sickert.

“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.

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 also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, June 19, 1922, Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London

The party seems to be going well.

Art critic Clive Bell, 40, is hosting the dinner party following this evening’s meeting of The Memoir Club.

Gordon Square

The Club was started a couple of years ago by about a dozen friends, family and lovers who live in and around the Bloomsbury section of London. Kept totally private, the main purpose of the organization is to get its members thinking about writing their own autobiographies. And because those who read out papers at the get-togethers are bound by the rules to be as candid as possible, The Memoir Club provides delightful entertainment as well.

Tonight’s presenters include Lytton Strachey, 42, whose biography of Queen Victoria was a big hit last year, and novelist Edward Morgan Forster, 43, recently returned from another trip to India.

Forster is in particularly good form tonight. By happy accident he has become the main topic of conversation in the letters page of the London Times.

At the beginning of the month, the Times’ review of Da Silva’s Widow and Other Stories by “Lucas Malet”—in reality Mary St. Leger Kinsley, 70—compared the book to Forster’s 1911 collection of six short stories, The Celestial Omnibus. Truth be told, Forster’s hadn’t sold well.

“Lucas Malet”

But the mention in the Times set off a volley of letters of praise for Forster’s writing, almost every day for two weeks, headlined “Mr. E. M. Forster’s Books.” This culminated in a letter from Kingsley herself who claimed she had never heard of him.

Well. She sure has heard of him now. The publisher of Celestial Omnibus wrote in offering a free copy of Forster’s book to anyone who made the same claim. A previous publisher got in touch, inquiring if Morgan was working on another novel. And sales soared.

The Celestial Omnibus

Reveling in his newfound fame, Morgan is feeling confident sharing pieces of his memoir and chatting with his Bloomsbury friends.

At the dinner, most of the discussion however is about a new long poem by another friend of theirs, the American ex-patriate Thomas Stearns Eliot, 33, which he calls The Waste Land. Eliot has been reading it out to friends over the past few months, and writer Mary Hutchinson, 33, Clive’s current mistress, calls it “Tom’s autobiography—a melancholy one.”

Mary Hutchinson and Clive Bell

Clive’s sister-in-law, novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, agrees with Mary’s opinion of the poem, but Virginia has been jealous of Hutchinson in the past. Tonight Mary is being quite kind. Virginia records in her diary later that Mary “crossed the room & purred in my ear.”

“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.

This month I am talking about the Stein family salons in Paris before and after The Great War at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Carnegie-Mellon University.

In the fall, I will be talking about the centenary of The Waste Land in the Osher programs at CMU and the University of Pittsburgh.

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 also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  Five years ago, June, 2017, London

We interrupt the usual chronicle of what was happening 100 years ago to commemorate “Dalloway Day.”

Yes. Not “Bloomsday” which celebrates tomorrow, June 16th as the day on which James Joyce set his novel Ulysses [1922]. Virginia Woolf wasn’t specific about the date on which the events of Mrs. Dalloway [1925] take place beyond referring to it as a Wednesday in mid-June.

Below is a blog I wrote about the Dalloway Day events in London that I attended in 2017, when we were living in Birmingham UK. If you are interested in the celebrations being held this year, click here.

“Such Friends”: Dalloway Day, Blogging Woolf, and me

I said I would buy the lunch myself.

As I recommend to all my visiting American friends, when in the UK, time your train trip so you can take along some lunch from M&S Simply Food, ubiquitous in train stations here. My preference is carrot sticks with reduced fat humous and salmon pasta salad. Yum.

So I stocked up and took off for London a few Saturdays ago to take part in my first “Dalloway Day,” commemorating the day on which Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel, Mrs. Dalloway, is set. The Irish all over the world have been celebrating “Bloomsday” based on James Joyce’s Ulysses for over 50 years. Now it’s Virginia’s turn.

Original cover of Mrs. Dalloway, designed by Vanessa Bell

This year, the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain is sponsoring this day, which includes a walk through some of the novel’s settings, a discussion of the book, and a 1920s party at the Bloomsbury Waterstones. I signed up for the whole package.

On one of the hottest days of the year, I took the train from Birmingham New Street to Euston station, and then the Underground to the appointed meeting place, outside the Regent’s Park Tube.

Waiting for the Underground lift, literally a breath of fresh air came wafting through. The woman next to me, about my age, said,

Oh! That feels great. It’s so hot.”

I nodded in agreement.

Watching her walk up the stairs in front of me, I realized she was wearing a blue flower print dress and lovely straw hat. Aha. Another Dalloway Day participant, I surmised.

As we reached the street at the top, we both laughed. Standing just a few feet away was a gaggle of Dalloway Day fans. About 20 women “of a certain age” in flowered dresses or skirts, straw hats—they all looked just like me! No trouble finding this group.

The walk was led by Jean Moorcroft Wilson, who obviously was a lot more familiar with the book and Virginia than I am, having read it years ago as part of my research. I actually have much more vivid memories of the Vanessa Redgrave film, which I’ve used in my presentations.

Jean was dressed in the full Dalloway, including a vintage dress and hat, complemented by darling low-heeled black shoes with straps. Very 1920s. She’d obviously done this many times before.

Jean pointed out that there is debate as to when Dalloway Day actually is. Whereas Joyce clearly set Ulysses on 16th June, 1904, the day of his first date with his eventual wife, Nora Barnacle, Woolf‘s novel says “mid-June.” However, by lining up events in the book with cricket games and the Ascot races, most scholars have settled on the third Wednesday in June. But—this year, it’s Saturday, 17th June. So more of us can come.

The unusually warm weather—it’s actually been hot; Miami hot, not just England hot—didn’t slow us down a bit. After a stop in Regent’s Park, Jeanne walked us over to Fitzroy Square, where Virginia lived from 1907 until 1911 with her brother Adrian. Their sister Vanessa had married art critic Clive Bell and kicked the siblings out when the newlyweds took over the Gordon Square house, where we headed next.

My own Bloomsbury walk actually takes the reverse route, starting in Gordon Square and then over to Fitzroy Square.

Your host leading a walk in Fitzroy Square where Virginia lived.

At Waterstone’s we sat in a circle, sipping refreshing flavoured ice water. Jean and Maggie Humm of the Woolf Society led us through an interesting discussion of the book. My research was on the relationships among the creative people in the Bloomsbury group, but wasn’t focused on their works—books, paintings, etc. This discussion brought new insights about the connections for me to incorporate into my future presentations.

And I learned that there is a website that maps all the walks of the characters in the book—Clarissa, Peter, Septimus and Rezia—showing how they interconnect.

For the 1920s party, I was planning to switch to Dorothy Parker mode, and so had tucked my red feather boa into my travel bag. But not many others were quite so dedicated to the flapper look, so I decided to stay in Bloomsbury garb.

*****

Just this past week, I had another tax-deductible reason to go to London. Paula Maggio, better known to many of you as “Blogging Woolf,” was visiting from the States to attend the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf. We made plans to meet up and she wanted to try the Dalloway Terrace at the Bloomsbury Hotel. We had a fabulous lunch of pasta and prosecco, treated ourselves to dessert, and took a peek at the 1920s-style Bloomsbury Club downstairs.

Dalloway Terrace at the Bloomsbury Hotel, photo by Paula Maggio

Paula had also heard about a life-size statue of Virginia at Kings College, where Woolf had studied classics in her early days. A bit of Googling and walking led us to the Woolf Building. A sign said it was locked due to increased security, but when the guard saw our noses pressed against the glass, he let us in.

There she was, encased behind plexiglass, big as life, holding a copy of A Room of One’s Own, in a wardrobe that was, as Paula said, “a closet of her own.”

Surrounded by large quotes from Virginia’s works, and photos of her, it makes a fitting entrance for the College’s School of English.

Virginia Woolf statue, Kings College, photo by Paula Maggio

I would definitely add both of these places—Dalloway Terrace and the Kings College statue—to my Bloomsbury walk.

Heading back towards Euston station, Paula and I stopped by Woburn Walk, where the Irish poet William Butler Yeats lived at the same time that Virginia and her siblings were moving into Gordon Square, just a few blocks away.

These intersections of time, place and characters are what interest me most. I can picture an aerial view of north London in 1907, as the Irish poet walks past the Stephens sisters, on their way over to enjoy a stroll through Regent’s Park.

The usual blog series that appears here, “Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago…, is the basis for the book 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.

This month I am talking about the Stein family salons in Paris before and after The Great War at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Carnegie-Mellon University.

In the fall I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land in the Osher programs at CMU and the University of Pittsburgh.

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 also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, April through May, 1922, Hogarth House, Richmond; Tidmarsh, Berkshire; and Garsington, Oxfordshire

April.  Novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, writes to her friend, Lady Ottoline Morrell, 48, to arrange a visit to the Morrell’s country home, Garsington. Virginia suggests the last weekend in May, writing,

It’s such an age since I was at Garsington, and it never seems to me a house on the ground like other houses, but a caravan, a floating palace.”

Garsington

April.  Ottoline writes to their mutual friend, novelist Edward Morgan Forster, 43, just back from India, inviting him to Garsington for the last weekend in May, telling him that Virginia as well as American ex-pat poet Thomas Stearns Eliot, 33, are invited for that weekend also.

Mid-May.  Forster responds to Ottoline’s invitation, saying that he can’t come that weekend because he will be visiting their mutual friend, writer Lytton Strachey, 42, in Tidmarsh, Berkshire, where Lytton is renting a house owned by economist John Maynard Keynes, 38. Forster apologizes to Ottoline, explaining,

My future is as an uncharted sea, except where it is crossed by Lytton’s system of soundings.”

(Morgan has been reading a lot of Proust lately.)

Mid-May.  Virginia writes to Ottoline canceling her Garsington visit for the last weekend in May. She’s had three teeth pulled and can’t shake off the flu. Maybe late June or early July?

Saturday, May 27. Forster is enjoying his weekend in Tidmarsh, chatting with Lytton and others. The surprise guests are Virginia and her husband Leonard, 41. Weren’t they supposed to be at Garsington this weekend?

Ottoline sends a wire to Morgan and Lytton imploring them both to come to her garden party, about an hour away, which will go on all day. She wants them to visit with Tom Eliot. Carrying the Woolfs’ secret with them, Morgan and Lytton set off.

E. M. Forster at Garsington

At Garsington, the party is in full swing. Everyone is swimming in the pond and Ottoline is holding court, dressed in a picture hat and bright yellow satin top.

Forster always enjoys the gossip at these get-togethers but feels that a lot of the chatter when he’s not in the room is about him.

Ottoline Morrell, standing, with her guests at Garsington

“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.

In June I will be talking about the Stein family salons in Paris before and after The Great War at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in 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 also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, May 20-21, 1922, Gordon Square, Bloomsbury; and Hogarth House, Richmond, London

In the Bloomsbury section of London, economist John Maynard Keynes, 39, is writing to his friend, painter Vanessa Bell, 42, about the living arrangements in Gordon Square for his current partner, Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova, 30, and his former lover [and Vanessa’s current partner] painter Duncan Grant, 37.

46 Gordon Square, Londres, Royaume-Uni

No. 46 Gordon Square

If [Lydia] lived in 41, [Duncan] and I in 46, you and family in 50, and we all had meals in 46 that might not be a bad arrangement…We all want both to have and not have husbands and wives.”

*****

The next day, in Richmond, southwest London, Vanessa’s sister, novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, is writing to a friend describing a conversation she and her husband Leonard, 41, had recently:

Hogarth House

Leonard says we owe a great deal to [George Bernard] Shaw. I say that he only influenced the outer fringe of morality…Leonard says rot; I say damn. Then we go home. Leonard says I’m narrow. I say he’s stunted.”

Now that’s a marriage…

“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.

Next month I will be talking about the Stein family salons in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute 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 also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.