“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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, May 18-19, 1922, Hotel Majestic, Avenue Kleber; and 44 rue de l’Amiral-Hamelin, Paris

THE AFTER-THEATRE DINNER PARTY:

A Teleplay

SFX:  Renard by Stravinsky

Long shot of the Paris Opera House. The camera moves in to focus on the poster for tonight’s performance: 

Then a tight shot of the wording:

RENARD

Première mondiale! Musique et livret d’Igor Stravinsky  Chorégraphie de Bronislava Nijinsky

Interprété par Les Ballets Russes, sous la direction de Serge Diaghilev

Réalisé par Ernest Ansermet  Avec des décors conçus par Pablo Picasso

The camera pulls back and takes us through the streets of the Right Bank to the entrance of the Hotel Majestic on Avenue Kleber.

We follow the camera inside and up the stairs to a private room. Stravinsky’s music is drowned out by the sounds of about 35 or 40 partygoers, formally dressed, chatting and laughing. Waiters are getting ready to serve dinner.

Speaking in front of the room is Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev, 50.

DIAGHILEV:  Thank you to our hosts for the evening, Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Schiff, who have brought together tonight the four living artists Mr. Schiff most admires [gesturing to each]:  Monsieur Picasso, Monsieur Stravinsky, Monsieur Joyce [looks around the room] Monsieur Joyce? No? And Monsieur Proust [looks around the room again] Monsieur Proust?!

As he is speaking, the camera moves around the table to give close-ups of some of the dinner guests:  Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, 40, with a Catalan sash tied around his head like a turban; his wife Olga, 30; French director Ernest Ansermet, 38; French composer Erik Satie, just turned 56; Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, 39; English patron Sydney Schiff, 53; his wife Violet, 48; and English art critic Clive Bell, 40.

DIAGHILEV:  I hope you all enjoy the dinner.

Waiters begin serving. Outside, bells chime midnight.

Camera moves around the room showing the partygoers enjoying the food and each other’s company.

Fade to the same scene showing most of the food eaten and waiters slowly clearing a few plates and starting to serve coffee.

The camera settles on the door to the room and in staggers Irish author James Joyce, 40, looking confused, poorly dressed and a bit drunk. Sydney Schiff motions for a waiter to put a chair next to him, and Joyce sits in it. He puts his head in his hands, and a waiter sets a glass of champagne in front of him.

Panning back to the door, we see Marcel Proust, 50, enter, dressed in evening clothes and wearing white gloves. A chair is placed between Sydney Schiff and Stravinsky; Proust sits there. A waiter brings him some food and drink.

PROUST, turning to Stravinsky:  Monsieur Stravinsky, doubtless you admire Beethoven?

STRAVINSKY, barely looking at him:  I detest Beethoven.

PROUST:  But, cher maitre, surely those late sonatas and quartets…

STRAVINSKY:  Worse than all the others.

Ansermet, sitting nearby, leans over to talk to both of them to avoid having this discussion become a fight.

Snoring is heard, and the camera moves to focus on Joyce, who has nodded off.

Hearing the snoring, a posh woman seated next to Clive Bell tugs on his sleeve and whispers in his ear. The two get up, put on their coats and leave together. Sydney Schiff gets up to see them out.

As soon as they leave, Joyce wakes up and Proust leans over to talk to him:

PROUST:  Ah, Monsieur Joyce, you know the Princess…

JOYCE:  No, Monsieur.

PROUST:  Ah. You know the Countess…

JOYCE:  No, Monsieur.

PROUST:  Then you know Madame…

JOYCE:  No, Monsieur.

The camera moves away but we hear the two men still chatting.

People start pushing back their chairs, gathering their coats, getting ready to leave.

Proust turns to Sydney and Violet Schiff, asking if they would like to come to his apartment.

The three leave together, with Joyce following closely behind.

Outside the hotel, a car is waiting and all four wedge themselves in.

The camera follows the car just a few blocks to 44 rue de l’Amiral-Hamelin.

Joyce starts to get out of the car after the Schiffs and Proust, but Proust gestures for him to stay in and signals to the driver to continue on. Proust heads for his building while Sydney gives the driver specific instructions and then turns with his wife to follow Proust inside.

Inside the apartment we see Proust and the Schiffs happily chatting and drinking champagne as the camera pulls back to reveal the sun coming up outside the window.

FIN

“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 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 6, 1922, Hogarth House, Richmond, London

Facing serious dental work, including three extractions, and her inability to fight off this influenza that has had her in and out of bed for the past few months, the spring of novelist Virginia Woolf’s 40th year is not going well.

Today, she and her husband Leonard, 41, were able to go for a walk. Hoorah! But then her temperature went up over 101 degrees, and they had to call the doctor.

The one bright spot is that, confined to bed, again, she now has time to delve back into the writing of Marcel Proust, 50.

Swann’s Way

She’d been introduced to his work during the Great War by her Bloomsbury friend, art critic Roger Fry, 55, whom she’s writing to today. She tells Roger that, although she has the

most violent cold in the whole parish,…Proust’s fat volume comes in very handy…to sink myself in it all day…Proust so titillates my own desire for expression that I can hardly set out the sentence. Oh if I could write like that! I cry. And at the moment such is the astonishing vibration and saturation and intensification that he procures—theres [sic] something sexual in it—that I feel I can write like that, and seize my pen and then I can’t write like that. Scarcely anyone so stimulates the nerves of language in me:  It becomes an obsession.”

At the beginning of the year she had first taken up Swann’s Way, and written to her fellow novelist E. M. Forster, 43, then in India,

Everyone is reading Proust. I sit silent and hear their reports. It seems to be a tremendous experience, but I’m shivering on the brink, and waiting to be submerged with a horrid sort of notion that I shall go down and down and down and perhaps never come up again.”

Forster was so impressed by Virginia’s reaction that he bought a copy of Swann’s Way on board the ship back home to England. He has found that Proust’s technique of revealing character through inner thoughts is influencing the Indian novel he is finally getting around to finishing.

Reading Proust is also helping Woolf with her work, a long short story, “Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street.” And it is keeping her from what she feels she is supposed to be reading, that vile tome, Ulysses by James Joyce, also 40.

Virginia is thinking that she also needs to write to her friend Ottoline Morrell, 48, to cancel her planned visit to the Morrells’ country pile, Garsington, at the end of the month. June or July might be better. This flu is just not going away.

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.

Saturday is national Independent Bookstore Day!

What a perfect time to visit your local independent bookstore!

If you are lucky enough to live near Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, you could stop by to say hi to our “such friends” at Riverstone Books on Forbes Avenue for their celebrations, 10 am to close.

While there, you could pick up signed copies of “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921, which are collections of the blogs that are posted on this site about what was happening 100 years ago.

“Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s—Volume I, 1920

And you could also buy some of Riverstone’s terrific Independent Bookstore merchandise!

Merchandise available at Riverstone Books

Remember—everyone is reading “Such Friends”!

Everyone reading “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s—Volume II, 1921

P. S. Follow this blog to receive updates on the progress of Volume III about the literary milestone year of 1922, due out this summer. Or email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com for more information.

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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, April, 1922, Palazzo San Giorgio, Genoa, Italy; and 50 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London

The Genoa Economic and Financial Conference is underway.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, 59, instigated this conference of delegates from selected European countries, to plan for the “reconstruction of economic Europe, devastated and broken into fragments by the desolating agency of war,” as he told the UK House of Commons. They gave him a rousing vote of confidence.

Rotogravure of the Palazzo San Giorgio

Over 700 journalists applied for the 200 ticketed slots to cover the four-week get together. Some of them have to sit on the floor.

The correspondent for the Toronto Star, American Ernest Hemingway, 22, arrived early in the month and began filing stories. His first description of the setting:

Genoa is crowded, a modern Babel with a corps of perspiring interpreters trying to bring the representatives of 40 [sic] different countries together. The narrow streets flow with crowds kept orderly by thousands of Italian troops.”

The troops in their black fezzes are visible to discourage violent outbreaks by Communists or anti-Communists in this city which is one-third “Red.” The best way to keep the peace seems to be closing the cafes, Hemingway observes.

The tension is exacerbated by Britain’s insistence, over France’s objection, that both Germany and Soviet Russia attend. France doesn’t want to invite their main debtor, the Weimar Republic, nor any representatives of the new Bolshevik government in Moscow.

America has declined to participate at all.

Living in Paris with his new wife since late last year, Ernie is happy to be covering his first major political event for the Star. He is getting used to filing his copy by cable, and a few of the more experienced journalists here have given him some tips. Muckraking investigative reporter Lincoln Steffens, just turned 56, showed him how to run words together—“aswellas”—to save money. Hemingway loves this.

It’s wonderful! It’s a new language. No fat, all bones and structure,”

he exclaims to his colleagues over chianti.

During the opening ceremony, the arrival of Lloyd George is met with a loud ovation. The other delegations enter, and, as Hemingway describes the scene:

When the hall is nearly full, the British delegation enters. They have come in motor cars through the troop-lined streets and enter with elan. They are the best dressed delegation…The hall is crowded and sweltering and the four empty chairs of the Soviet delegation are the four emptiest looking chairs I have ever seen. Everyone is wondering whether they will not appear. Finally they come through the door and start making their way through the crowd. Lloyd George looks at them intently, fingering his glasses…A mass of secretaries follow the Russian delegates, including two girls with fresh faces, hair bobbed in the fashion started by [American dancer] Irene Castle, and modish tailored suits. They are far and away the best-looking girls in the conference hall. The Russians are seated. Someone hisses for silence, and Signor Facta starts the dreary round of speeches that sends the conference under way.”

*****

Economist John Maynard Keynes, 38, is one of the many Brits attending. He represented his government in Versailles at the Paris Peace Conference three years ago—when Germany and Russia were definitely not invited. But now he is here as General Editor of a special 12-part series, “Reconstruction in Europe” by the Manchester Guardian Commercial. These supplements are being translated into five languages and include contributions from leading statesmen and businessmen, along with 13 pieces by Keynes.

First Manchester Guardian supplement

The Guardian approached Maynard last year to take on this role, and he agreed only when they assured him he would be able to closely supervise the writers who would be chosen. Keynes is using this medium to get across his opinions of the steps being taken to rebuild a Europe which has been so devastated by the Great War.

Throughout the conference, Keynes keeps up a steady correspondence with his friends back home. Particularly his most recent lover, Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova, 30.

*****

Back in Bloomsbury, Lydia is enjoying settling into her new home in 50 Gordon Square, where Maynard installed her before he left, surrounded by his artsy Bloomsbury friends and just a few doors away from his residence in number 46.

Lydia has left the Ballets Russes, where she was a principal dancer for many years, and is now dancing in Covent Garden with the company led by fellow Russian Leonid Massine, 25, former choreographer with the Ballets Russes.

Since Maynard left for Italy, Lydia has been writing to him almost every day about the details of her new London life; commenting on his articles in the Guardian

Your expression in the end give me nice tremblings”—

and how much she misses him—

I place melodious strokes all over you. Maynard, you are very nice.”

Lydia Lopokova

Thanks to Dr. Marie Hooper for assistance in understanding European history.

“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 Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, mid-April, 1922, Monk’s House, Rodmell, East Sussex, England

Novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, is sitting in a comfy chair in the Woolfs’ house in the country with a blue-bound book in her lap.

Virginia is s l o w l y cutting each page of the brand-new copy of Ulysses which she ordered from her London bookseller. £4. Not cheap.

James Joyce’s Ulysses

She knows she has to actually read the book, not just handle it. She did read the first eight chapters earlier this year, in magazine excerpts. And then re-read the first four.

Then put it down and told herself she would definitely finish it. Soon.

Her husband Leonard, 41, jumped right in and started reading. Ironically, the manuscript of Ulysses was submitted to them a few years ago, to be published by their own Hogarth Press. They declined. Too big a print job, they explained.

Virginia and Leonard Woolf

Virginia has written to her brother-in-law, art critic Clive Bell, also 40: 

Mr. Joyce…I have him on the table…Leonard is already 30 pages deep…I look, and sip, and shudder.”

After all, she’s been ill. Bad case of the flu. And, despite that, she has been working on a long short story—“Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street”—that she might send to their friend, American ex-pat Tom Eliot, 33, for his new magazine. If she has it done in a few weeks.

Eliot. He’s one of the ones who has been praising Joyce and his latest book. Sometimes Virginia thinks Eliot likes everyone else’s writing better than hers.

She’ll start reading it again if the rain keeps up.

“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, April, 1922, England, America, France, and Ireland

Comment continues to come in reacting to the new novel Ulysses, by Irishman James Joyce, 40, published two months ago by a small bookshop in Paris, Shakespeare and Company, owned by American ex-pat Sylvia Beach, 35.

SCANDAL OF JAMES JOYCE’S ULYSSES

After a rather boresome [sic] perusal of James Joyce’s Ulysses, published in Paris for private subscribers at the rate of three guineas in francs, I can realize one reason at least for Puritan America’s Society for the Prevention of Vice, and can understand why the Yankee judges fined the publishers of The Little Review $100 for the publication of a very rancid chapter of the Joyce stuff, which appears in to have been written by a perverted lunatic who has made a specialty of the literature of the latrine…Joyce is a writer of talent, but in Ulysses he has ruled out all the elementary decencies of life and dwells appreciatively on things that sniggering louts of schoolboys guffaw about.

Sporting Times

“In addition to this stupid glorification of mere filth, the book suffers from being written in the manner of a demented George Meredith. There are whole chapters of it without any punctuation or other guide to what the writer is really getting at. Two-thirds of it is incoherent, and the passages that are plainly written are devoid of wit, displaying only a coarse salacrity [sic] intended for humour…The main contents of the book are enough to make a Hottentot sick…[However] there are quite a number of the New York intelligentsia who declare that Joyce has written the best book in the world.”—”Aramis,” Sporting Times, England

[Joyce is] Rabelais after a nervous breakdown.”—Sheffield Daily Telegraph, England

[Ulysses] has nothing at all to do with Homer…The book itself in its blue paper cover looks at first glance like nothing so much as a telephone directory…It seems a pity that Mr. Joyce, who might be a universally admired writer, restricts the appeal of his work by so many Zolaesque expressions, which are, to say the least, disfiguring.”—“Diary of a Man About Town,” London Evening News

[Joyce is] an intensely serious man [with] the mind of an artist, abnormally sensitive to the secret of individuality of emotions and things…A genius of the very highest order, strictly comparable to Goethe or Dostoevsky…Ulysses is, fundamentally (though it is much else besides), an immense, a prodigious self-laceration, the tearing away from himself, by a half-demented man of genius, of inhibitions and limitations which have grown to be flesh of his flesh…Mr. Joyce has made the superhuman effort to empty the whole of his consciousness into it…[But he has become] the victim of his own anarchy….[Joyce] is the man with the bomb who would blow what remains of Europe into the sky…This transcendental buffoonery, this sudden uprush of the vis comica into a world where in the tragic incompatibility of the practical and the instinctive is embodied, is a very great achievement.”—“Mr. Joyce’s Ulysses,” John Middleton Murry, Nation and Athenaeum, England

The Nation and Athenaeum

[Joyce’s vision of human nature is] mean, hostile, and uncharitable,…a very astonishing phenomenon in letters. He is sometimes dazzlingly original. If he does not see life whole he sees it piercingly. His ingenuity is marvelous. He has wit. He has a prodigious humor. He is afraid of naught…It is more indecent, obscene, scatological, and licentious than the majority of professedly pornographic books…He says everything—everything…The code is smashed to bits…[The Nighttown episode has] the richest stuff, handled with a virtuosity to match the quality of the material…I have never read anything to surpass [Molly Bloom’s soliloquy], and I doubt if I have ever read anything to equal it…[Joyce] apparently thinks that there is something truly artistic and high minded in playing the lout to the innocent and defenseless reader…He has made novel reading into a fair imitation of penal servitude. Many persons could not continue reading Ulysses; they would be obliged, by mere shock, to drop it.”—“James Joyce’s Ulysses,” Arnold Bennett, The London Outlook, England

The London Outlook

Amused, stimulated, charmed, interested (through the first three chapters only to be) puzzled, bored, irritated, & disillusioned as by a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples (by the end of chapter 6)…It was an illiterate, underbred book (by a) self-taught working man”—Virginia Woolf, in her diary, England

*****

[Ulysses is] a step toward making the modern world possible for art. [It gives] a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history…[Joyce has replaced narrative with] the mythical method…[It is] a book to which we are all indebted and from which none of us can escape”—T. S. Eliot, “Ulysses, Order and Myth,” The Dial, America

*****

[Molly Bloom’s soliloquy is a feat of] diabolic clairvoyance, black magic.”—Paris edition of New York Herald, France

Take this Irishman Joyce, a sort of Zola gone to seed. Someone recently sent me a copy of Ulysses. I was told I must read it, but how can 1 plow through such stuff? I read a little here and there, but, oh my God! How bored I got! Probably Joyce thinks that because he prints all the dirty little words he is a great novelist. You know, of course, he got his ideas from Dujardin?…Joyce, Joyce, why he’s nobody…from the Dublin docks:  no family, no breeding. Someone else once sent me his A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a book entirely without style or distinction; why, I did the same thing, but much better in The Confessions. of a Young Man. Why attempt the same thing unless you can turn out a better book?…Ulysses is hopeless, it is absurd to imagine that any good end can be served by trying to record every single thought and sensation of any human being. That’s not art, that’s attempting to copy the London Directory….He lives here in Paris, I understand. How does he manage to make a living? His books don’t sell. Maybe he has money?”—Irish critic George Moore, in conversation in France

A welter of pornography (the rudest school-boy kind), and unformed and unimportant drivel.”—Edith Wharton, France

It bursted over us like an explosion in print, whose words and phrases fell upon us like a gift of tongues, like a less than holy Pentecostal experience”—Young American in France

Sylvia Beach and James Joyce in front of headlines at Shakespeare and Company

*****

I should think you would need something to restore your self-respect after this last inspection of the stinkpots…Everything dirty seems to have the same irresistible attraction for you that cow-dung has for flies.”—The author’s brother, Stanislaus Joyce, Ireland

I’ve always told him he should give up writing and take up singing.”—The author’s partner, Nora Barnacle, visiting her mother in Ireland

“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 just before and just after the Great War, at Carnegie-Mellon University’s Lifelong Learning program.

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 in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, March 7, 1922, Hogarth House, Richmond, London

Virginia Woolf, 40, is watching her husband, Leonard, 41, walk their guest for today’s tea, fellow novelist Edward Morgan Forster, 43, to the bus stop. Forster is heading out to visit his favorite aunt in Putney, just a few miles away.

Hogarth House

Virginia is so pleased that Morgan has come back to England—just last week—after almost a year away in India. But he seems depressed. He’s back living with his Mum and cat in Weybridge, in an ugly old house far from a train station, and hasn’t published a novel in a dozen years.

They discussed their recent mutual discovery of the work of Marcel Proust, 50. Forster started reading him on the boat back home; Virginia has been reading the Frenchman while working on a short story, “Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street.” Both admire the way he uses memory to define characters.

Two days ago the Woolfs hosted another writer-friend for tea, American ex-pat T. S. Eliot, 34. He too seems a bit distracted by his current situation, working all day in a bank and coming home to a wife who is ill. Virginia has always been intimidated by him. Forster she thinks of as a friend, someone whose opinions she values. Eliot she sees as a competitor.

E. M. Forster and T. S. Eliot

Tom told them about a long poem, about 40 pages and as yet untitled, that he’s working on. He says it is his best work and the Woolfs’ Hogarth Press has agreed to publication in the fall. He has also received funding to start a quarterly literary magazine, also untitled.

There was something about Eliot that Virginia thought she had noticed before. He wears a thin dusting of face powder. Sort of a purplish color. The gossip is that he wants to make himself look even more stressed than he is.

After two months of sickness herself, being bed-ridden and unable to write, Virginia is now feeling her energy returning. The doctor has allowed her to get out and walk—which is how she writes, working out the text in her head. And she can now receive guests such as Morgan and Tom.

She still doesn’t understand Eliot’s enthusiasm for the new novel by Irishman James Joyce, 40, Ulysses. Virginia and Leonard rejected it for their press a few years ago. Now a little bookstore in Paris has published it. The way Eliot talks about the novel, Virginia feels that Joyce has done what she is trying to do—maybe even better?

Virginia decides she needs to go back and read Ulysses again.

“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 June I will be talking about the Stein family salons in Paris before and after the Great War at 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 also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, February 14, 1922, Hogarth House, Richmond, London

About 10 days ago, novelist Virginia Woolf, just turned 40 and still recovering from a second bout of influenza, wrote in her diary,

I have taken it into my head that I shan’t live till seventy…Suppose, I said to myself the other day[,] this pain over my heart wrung me out like a dish cloth & left me dead?…[Last summer I had] two whole months rubbed out.”

Hogarth House

Now her husband, Leonard, 41, has moved her bed downstairs to the living room, which is less lonely for her and more convenient for both of them. She’s reading more—Moby Dick and a biography of Lord Salisbury—writing a little and receiving visitors. Including her brother-in-law, Clive Bell, 40, whom she describes as “all bottom and a little flaxen wig,”

Clive Bell by Roger Fry

But Virginia’s temperature has been elevated at consistently 99.5 degrees, and she has been feeling quite competitive with her friend, fellow novelist Katherine Mansfield, 33. The Saturday Westminster Gazette is serializing Mansfield’s short story “The Garden Party” and a collection of her stories will soon be coming out as a book.

Today, Virginia writes in her diary,

K. M. [Mansfield] bursts upon the world in glory next week…I have to hold over [my novel] Jacob’s Room…til October; & I somehow fear that by that time it will appear to me sterile acrobatics…[I am feeling] all dissipated & invalid-ish…What a twelve months it has been for writing!—& I at the prime of life, with little creatures in my head which won’t exist if I don’t let them out!”

“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 kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Our celebration of the belated 148th birthday of my fellow Pittsburgher Gertrude Stein will be this Thursday, February 17, at 7 pm, at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill. You can register for this free event, or sign up to watch it via Zoom, here

At the end of the month I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses at 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 also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, before January 25, 1922, Hogarth House, Richmond, London

Virginia Woolf is about to turn 40. And she’s not taking it well.

She is pleased to find out that her friend and fellow novelist, E. M. Forster, 43, is on his way back to England after spending almost a year in India. She writes to him,

I was stricken with the influenza, and here I am, a fortnight later, still in bed, though privileged to take a stroll in the sun for half an hour—after lunch…

Writing is still like heaving bricks over a wall;…I should like to growl to you about all this damned lying in bed and doing nothing, and getting up and writing half a page and going to bed again. I’ve wasted five whole years (I count) doing it; so you must call me 35—not 40—and expect rather less from me.”

Leading up to the big day, in her diary she writes,

[Life] consists of how many months? That’s what I begin to say to myself, as I near my 40th birthday…

The machinery for seeing friends is too primitive:  1 should be able to see them by telephone—ring up, & be in the same room…[But too many visitors leave her] in tatters…my mind vibrates uncomfortably…

Virginia Woolf’s diary

I have made up my mind that I’m not going to be popular, & so genuinely that I look upon disregard or abuse as part of my bargain…I’m to write what I like; & they’re to say what they like. My only interest as a writer lies, I begin to see, in some queer individuality; not in strength, or passion, or anything startling; but then I say to myself, is not ‘some queer individuality’ precisely the quality I respect?…

I feel time racing like a film at the Cinema. I try to stop it. I prod it with my pen. I try to pin it down.”

“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 kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

On February 3, 2022, we will be celebrating the 148th birthday of my fellow Pittsburgher Gertrude Stein, at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill. You can register for this free event, or sign up to watch it via Zoom, here

In late February I will be talking about the 100th Anniversary of the Publication of Ulysses in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

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.