“Such Friends”:  116 Years Ago, June 16, 1904, Dublin, Ireland

We interrupt our centenary remembrances with a trip back in time to celebrations of “Bloomsday,” the day on which James Joyce set his novel, Ulysses.

Below is a blog I wrote celebrating Bloomsday, way back in the beginning of this millennium. And it is still relevant today, I think.

Excerpts from the original blog series are contained in Gypsy Teacher, available as a blook on Amazon.

Every Wednesday…

The Journal of a Teacher in Search of a Classroom

By Kathleen Dixon Donnelly, June 16, 2003, Hollywood, Florida,

Happy “Bloomsday”!

99 years ago this week, James Joyce had his first date with the woman who was to become his wife, Nora Barnacle. He chose to immortalize the occasion in his epic, Ulysses, which covers every detail of one day in the life of Leopold Bloom, a Jew living in Dublin, in only 783 pages.

joyce and nora1904

James Joyce and Nora Barnacle

What this really means is that next year, Dublin will go fughin’ nuts.

I lived in Ireland for just short of a year, but I have never been there for Bloomsday celebrations. Maybe next year. [NB from the future, gentle reader:  I made it!]

Many think that June 16th is the date that Jimmy and Nora met, but indeed that was a week earlier. She coyly kept putting him off but finally agreed to go out with him. I’ve seen pictures of Nora and let’s just say, she had a wonderful personality.

On my second trip to Ireland, the minute I turned on to the street in Galway town with the house that Nora grew up in, my stomach recognized the site as looking just like where my mom grew up in Pittsburgh. If I showed you photos of the two, you might not see the similarity, but the “feel” was palpable. Small row houses, all looking the same, but with each door painted a different color.

Soon after they met, Joyce convinced Nora to come with him to Switzerland where he had accepted a teaching position. They had two children and went to visit Paris in 1920 for just a few weeks—but stayed for years. Paris has that effect on people. Even the Irish.

James and Nora never actually got around to getting married until their children were both grown. They just presented themselves as a married couple and were always accepted that way. Nobody Googled, looking for a marriage certificate.

Nora and James Joyce

Nora and James Joyce after their wedding

In Paris Joyce continued work on Ulysses and the writers living there knew that he was working on something big. He didn’t socialize in the writers’ salons in Paris at the time. He mostly drank alone, sometimes with others, breaking into song late at night in the cafes. The cab drivers would bring him home, where Nora would be waiting at the top of the stairs, arms akimbo, like a good Irish wife. “Jimmy,” she’d say, looking down on him lying in a drunken heap,

Your fans think you’re a genius but they should see you now.”

When Dorothy Parker visited the city in the twenties, she saw Joyce on the street but he didn’t speak to her. She reasoned,

Perhaps he thought he would drop a pearl.”

Excerpts from Ulysses began appearing in the Little Review in the States around 1918, causing quite a stir because of the language. The first obscenity case brought against the magazine was argued by Irish-American lawyer John Quinn, who didn’t win, but got the Little Review publishers off with a $100 fine.

Quinn is one of the true heroes of early 20th century literature and art. He helped William Butler Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory found the Abbey Theatre in Dublin (and had an affair with Augusta later), bought up lots of Cubist and Post-Impressionist paintings in Paris, lent many of them to the 1913 Armory Show in New York, and argued a case for the organizers of that show that changed the customs law in the U.S.:  From that point on, works of art less than 100 years old would be free of tariffs as their classical cousins were.

Virginia and Leonard Woolf, operating their Hogarth Press in London, had rejected Ulysses. Reading it made Virginia feel, in the words of one biographer, that

someone had stolen her pen and scribbled on the privy wall.”

Sylvia Beach, the American who founded the bookstore Shakespeare & Co., the social center for the expatriate community in Paris, met Joyce at a party and soon offered to publish his novel. After being rejected by so many who weren’t adventurous enough to take it on, he was intrigued that this woman wanted his book.

Joyce took longer to finish the work than they expected. So for the local artistic community, many of whom had subscribed in response to Beach’s mailing announcing the work, she held a reading on December 7th, 1921, in her shop. Gertrude Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, didn’t come; they lived a few blocks away but were preparing for their annual Christmas party.

When Beach did publish Ulysses the following February, on Joyce’s 40th birthday, Alice promptly walked over to Shakespeare & Co and cancelled Gertrude’s subscription. They would brook no competitors for her title as greatest living writer in English.

JoyceUlysses2 cover

First cover of Ulysses

After publication, Ulysses was promptly banned in Boston, but a friend of Ernest Hemingway managed to smuggle a copy into the United States via Canada.

Joyce died in 1941 at the age of 59 of a duodenal ulcer. Nora lived another ten years.

Beach, who funded the publication of Ulysses on her own with the help of the paid subscriptions, never saw any profit or royalties from it. Her writer friends helped her keep the bookstore open, but when the Nazis occupied Paris during World War II she was interned for a few years. She wrote a lovely memoir called Shakespeare & Co. which was published in the mid-fifties.

During our marriage ceremony on Hollywood Beach last year, on St. Patrick’s Day, our friend performing the ceremony announced that Tony and I each wanted to say something that we’d written. We looked at each other, and Tony said,

You’re the writer. Go ahead.”

So I glanced at my scribbled notes and told him that I wouldn’t promise to solve his problems, but that I would help him to solve them. And that I wouldn’t promise to love everyone he loved, but that I would always respect those he loved.

I finished with Molly Bloom’s “Yes!” from the ending of Ulysses, but because I didn’t do the requisite fact-checking, I misquoted it. So here, for those of you who were at the wedding, and those who weren’t, is the correct ending for Molly and for me:

…and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

EPSON MFP image

Tony Dixon and Kathleen Dixon Donnelly, March 17, 2002

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning program.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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, May 27, 1920, 8 rue Dupuytren, Left Bank, Paris

Some days it feels as though everyone in France is on strike, thinks American ex-patriate bookstore owner Sylvia Beach, 33. Except her.

Railway workers have been on strike all month. And they’ve managed to get thousands of industrial workers to walk out in sympathy.

On the other hand, her English-language bookshop, Shakespeare & Co., is doing so well, she has had to hire part-time workers.

But someone stole her sign—twice! So a French friend created his own version of William Shakespeare. Not very English-looking.

shakespeare-and-company-book-store-quartier-latin-paris-france sign

Shakespeare & Co. sign

Beach is the victim of her own success. She has had to turn down numerous invitations to dinner from fellow American, writer Gertrude Stein, 46, at her salon a few blocks away, across the Luxembourg Gardens, at 27 rue de Fleurus.

Today she is just plain frustrated. She writes to Gertrude,

It’s a miserable business and I am going to sell out…or something if this keeps up.”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about writers’ salons before and after the Great War in Ireland, England, France and America in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning program.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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, May, 1920, 244 Compo Road South, Westport, Connecticut

Newlywed Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, 19, is bored.

She is sitting on the beach not far from their rented, colonial-style 150-plus-year old house, where her new husband, hot hit novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, 24, is upstairs writing short stories. Always writing.

Of course, he gets about $900 for each one, like “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” in this month’s Saturday Evening Post, so at least that will pay some bills.

Their local bootlegger, Baldy Jack Rose, 43, keeps them in cheap whiskey. And their mysterious next store neighbour, Frederick Lewis, is a thirty-ish multimillionaire who pretty much keeps to himself. He doesn’t mind if Zelda shortcuts across his property to get to this beach, which makes the 20-minute walk a bit more interesting. And he gives great parties.

FE Lewis Fitz Wport neighb

Frederick E. Lewis

But Zelda is still bored. When Scott’s not working they drive their sports car around the countryside, or back into the city. Although, since she ran over a fire hydrant, Scott won’t let her behind the wheel anymore.

They finally had to hire a Japanese house boy for the cleaning and cooking because Zelda sure as heck couldn’t do any of that.

She thought that finally getting out of Montgomery, Alabama, away from her family, moving up north, getting married—she thought it would all be more exciting than this.

Now she spends most days hungover, sipping lemonade, sitting in a beach chair. Looking across the Sound to Long Island.

zelda-fitzgerald-at-compo-beach

Zelda Fitzgerald at Compo Beach, Connecticut

Thanks to Richard Webb at Gatsby in Connecticut for help in authenticating details of this posting.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.

In 2020 I am talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher 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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, April 19, 1920, Left Bank, Paris

Eleanor Beach, 56, is on her annual visit to see her daughters—she calls them her “chicks”—who live in Europe.

The youngest, Sylvia, 33, owns an English-language bookshop and lending library in Paris on the rue Dupuytren, Shakespeare and Co., which seems to be going well. It hasn’t even been open a year and she already has 103 subscribers to the lending library, most of whom are pretty active borrowers.

But Mom wants to help out. So she and her daughter go on a shopping spree and come back with some decent clothes, a kitchen table, and some more books for the shop.

Sylvia writes to her sister, Holly, 35, in Florence, Italy,

PLM [Poor Little Mother] is flourishing.”

Sylvia’s good friend, Adrienne Monnier, 27, who owns a French-language bookshop a few blocks away, La Maison des Amis des Livres (The House of the Friends of Books), has been a big help in Sylvia’s first year in business.

Adrienne Monnier and Sylvia Beach

Adrienne Monnier and Sylvia Beach

Shakespeare & Co. recently had good write-ups in the respected trade journal Publisher’s Weekly and other English-language publications distributed in France. As a result, Sylvia is having a hard time responding to all the letters she is receiving. Many American students write asking for jobs. Sylvia is feeling more like a secretary, rather than an entrepreneur.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the University of Pittsburgh Osher Lifelong Learning program.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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, Easter Sunday, April 4, 1920, New York City, New York

Charles Scribner’s & Sons’ ad for the first novel—already a hit—by their hot new discovery, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23, appears.

Paradise NY Times ad

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about literary salons in Ireland, England, France and America, before and after the Great War, in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning program.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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, Good Friday, April 2, 1920, New York City, New York

Zelda Sayre, 19, gets off the train in New York City, with her sister, Marjorie Brinson, 34, for the first time in her life. Waiting for them at Pennsylvania Station is one of their other married sisters, Rosalind Smith, 31, and Zelda’s fiancée, the hot new first-time novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23.

Scott and Zelda wedding dress maybe

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

Scott and Zelda met less than two years ago when he was stationed at Camp Sheridan, the Army base near her home in Montgomery, Alabama. They’ve been writing and dating ever since, but she had rejected his numerous proposals:  Until Charles Scribner’s Sons offered to publish Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise.

Scott had been told that sales of 5,000 copies for a first novel would be considered a success. Paradise sold 20,000 in its first week.

The three Sayre sisters have booked into the Biltmore Hotel to rest and get ready for tomorrow’s wedding at noon in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, just blocks away from the groom’s publisher, Scribner’s.

The plans and guest list are simple. Bridal couple, best man, Rosalind as matron of honor. Zelda’s two sisters—Marjorie and Clothilde Palmer, 29—and their husbands who will come in from Tarrytown tomorrow. That’s it.

Zelda and Scott will honeymoon here at the Biltmore. The bride has a new dark blue suit and a bouquet of orchids. She’s confident that “Goofo,” as she calls her intended, will have made some arrangements for a luncheon. Or at least a cake…

BiltmoreHotelPostcard

Postcard for the Biltmore Hotel

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about literary salons in Ireland, England, France and America, before and after the Great War, in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning program.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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, March 27 and 28, 1920, New York City, New York; Hollywood, California; and Montgomery, Alabama

Harold Ross, 27, who has made a name for himself around the publishing world by being the successful editor of the U. S. Army’s newspaper, The Stars & Stripes, in Paris during the Great War, is doing quite well now that he is state-side. Ross has just signed a contract to become editor of the American Legion Weekly, the house organ for veterans adjusting to their new lives back in the States.

The contract is his wedding present to Jane Grant, also 27, who he is secretly eloping with later today.

Ross and Grant met in Paris during the war, when she was there with the American Red Cross, entertaining soldiers.

Grant and Ross

Jane Grant and Harold Ross

They had discussed marriage a few times, and this week she said to him,

How about Saturday?”

So he agreed.

They plan to live on Grant’s salary as the first full-time female reporter for the New York Times, and save Ross’ earnings to start the magazine about New York they are planning.

*****

The next day, the rest of the country is thrilled with a different wedding. “America’s Sweetheart,” Mary Pickford, 27, is marrying her co-star, “Everybody’s Hero,” Douglas Fairbanks, 36. The worst kept secret in the movie business is that their affair began while they were each married to others. But America is willing to forgive their beloved “Hollywood Royalty.” The Fairbanks are off to Europe for their honeymoon.

Douglas_Fairbanks_and_Mary_Pickford_02

Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks

*****

Down south in Montgomery, Alabama, Zelda Sayre, 19, is planning for her wedding. The handsome young soldier she met during the war when he was stationed nearby at Camp Sheridan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23, now living in New York City, has been wooing her with love letters and presents:  An ostrich fan. His mother’s ring. A diamond and platinum watch. They were nice. But what really did the trick is when he signed a contract with Charles Scribner’s Sons to publish his first novel, This Side of Paradise. And Metro Studios bought the rights to one of his short stories for $2,500.

That’s when Zelda had said yes.

The novel was published this week and she’s getting ready for the wedding in early April.

fitzgerald-zelda1

Zelda Sayre and F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning program.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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, before March 26, 1920, midtown Manhattan

The excitement is palpable.

Employees at publishing house Charles Scribner’s Sons are finally getting pumped up about the debut novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23, the hot new discovery of Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins, 35.

Max’s enthusiasm for This Side of Paradise had not initially been shared by his co-workers. After all, this Fitzgerald was the youngest novelist Scribner’s had ever published.

When one of the men in the sales department had any doubts about a new book, he would take it home for his well-educated sister to read. She had proved to be a good predictor of success. So his fellow employees were all eager to know what she had thought of Paradise. He reported,

She picked it up with tongs because she wouldn’t touch it with her hands after reading it, and put it into the fire.”

This_Side_of_Paradise_dust_jacket

Original cover of This Side of Paradise

Perkins was so worried about negative reactions within the house, that he tried to keep the manuscript mostly in his own hands. As a former Scribner’s advertising director, he had approved the upcoming New York Times ad:

Paradise NY Times ad

New York Times ad, to run April 4, 1920

Perkins didn’t even want the staff proofreaders to have a crack at the novel. As a result, the printed version will be riddled with typos. Even more embarrassing to Perkins is that Fitzgerald—a terrible speller himself—is pointing out mistakes to him.

As publication day approaches, Perkins wonders if he has done the right thing by fighting to have tradition-encrusted Scribner’s take on this new writing.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins and his relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.

In 2020 I will be talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher 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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, March 16, 1920, 8 rue de Dupuytren, Paris

Sylvia Beach, just turned 33, is curious about the couple she sees walking towards her bookshop, Shakespeare & Co., on the Left Bank.

On the left is a stout, tall woman, about 200 pounds, in rustic clothes, her head styled with a double bun that resembles a basket. Next to her is a smaller woman, dark-haired, thin, like a bird, with drooping eyes, a hooked nose, and the trace of a mustache, in gypsy-like clothes.

As they get closer, Sylvia recognizes them as American writer Gertrude Stein, 46, and her constant companion, Alice B. Toklas, 42.

Gert and Alice dressed for travel

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas

Sylvia is familiar with Stein’s works, Tender Buttons and Three Lives. And of course she has heard talk of the salons the two women have held at their home, 27 rue de Fleurus, on the other side of the Jardin du Luxembourg. Before the Great War, the local painters would come. Now, the Left Bank community is still reorganizing after the Armistice, and Sylvia has been so busy opening her shop, she hasn’t yet sought out her fellow Americans.

So here comes Stein for her inaugural visit to Shakespeare & Co. to sign up as a subscriber—not the first. The 91st.

During their chat, Beach mentions that she would welcome more American and British customers. Stein promises that she will help by sending out a flyer to all their friends.

A few days later, Sylvia sees the promotion which Stein has written and Toklas has typed up and mailed out:

Rich and Poor in English

The poor are remarkably represented…

In dealing with money we can be funny…”

With the cost for book rentals listed on the back.

Beach feels that Stein’s subscription is

merely a friendly gesture. She took little interest of course in any but her own books.”

But, like many of Shakespeare & Co.’s visitors over the years, Gertrude and Alice really like the atmosphere in the store.

SylviaBeach1920 rue de depuytren

Sylvia Beach at Shakespeare & Co.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about writers salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning program.

Manager as Muse, about Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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, February, 1920, Montgomery, Alabama

Well. That was a scare.

Zelda Sayre, 19, had been late.

Not late to the dance. Late.

Her current boyfriend, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23, was back in New York City, finishing off his first novel to be published by Charles Scribner’s & Sons next month, and sending his short stories to magazines. Scott and Zelda were engaged. And then un-engaged.

He is still showering her with lots of presents.

zelda_aged_18 dancing

Zelda Sayre, dancing

When Zelda had written to tell him that she was late, Scott had sent her some pills to get rid of the unwanted baby.

Zelda threw them away. Only prostitutes have abortions. Not socially prominent daughters of Southern judges.

She wrote back to Scott—or “Goofo” as she calls him—to say that

God—or something”

would fix everything.

Must have been God.

She isn’t late anymore.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and others in both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University’s Osher Lifelong Learning programs.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins and his writers, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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.