“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, late September, early October, 1922, 82 Merrion Square, Dublin; and Great Neck, Long Island, New York

Georgie Yeats, 29, is relieved to be settling into her new home in Merrion Square, Dublin, with her family—her husband, poet William Butler Yeats, 57, and their two children, Anne, 3, and Michael, 13 months.

She bought this posh row house just a few months ago, with her own family money. But they have been living out in the west of Ireland, in the tower Willie bought and named Thoor Ballylee.

Willie has been optimistic about how the newly independent Irish Free State is progressing. Despite the ongoing civil war, the Parliament elected in June has taken their seats and chosen W. T. Cosgrave, 42, as their President.

However, at the beginning of this month Republican soldiers came to the door of Thoor Ballylee and told Georgie that they were going to blow up the bridge over the stream that runs by the tower. She should move the family upstairs. Big of them to give notice.

They ignited the fuses; a Republican told her there would be two explosions. She writes to a friend: 

After two minutes, two roars came & then a hail of falling masonry & gravel & then the same man shouted up ‘All right now’ & cleared off.”

No one was injured. When the Yeats family left for Dublin the stream had poured two feet of water in the downstairs dining room.

Thoor Ballylee flooded

*****

As she got off the train at Great Neck, Long Island, Zelda Fitzgerald, 22, carrying her daughter Scottie, 11 months, took one look at the nanny that her husband, hit novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, just turned 26, had hired—and fired her.

Scott and Zelda have recently rented a house in this suburb, only a 45-minute drive from Manhattan, and, while Zelda went back to St. Paul, Minnesota, to pick up Scottie from Fitzgerald’s parents, Scott had botched things up as usual.

Scottie and Zelda Fitzgerald

They had come back to New York at the beginning of the month to start a life with less booze and more work on Scott’s next novel and a play he’s writing. But they made the mistake of staying in their favorite place for partying, the Plaza Hotel, and the partying came back too.

A few weeks ago, Scott invited his old Princeton University buddy, critic and managing editor of Vanity Fair, Edmund “Bunny” Wilson, 27, over to the Plaza for an impromptu lunch—lobster croquettes and top shelf illegal liquor. Also joining them were novelists John Dos Passos, 26, and Sherwood Anderson, 46, who was looking a bit scruffy. The bootlegger’s bartender mixed Bronx cocktails (gin, vermouth and orange juice) and the men sat around drinking and whining about how their publishers didn’t promote their books enough.

Dos Passos and Zelda started teasing each other and Anderson, who had only come to be polite, left early.

John Dos Passos

Scott mentioned that, now that he had published two successful novels and just brought out his second short story collection, Tales of the Jazz Age, he and Zelda had decided to rent a house out on Long Island where they could raise their daughter.

So the slightly tipsy Fitzgeralds and Dos Passos got in a chauffeured red touring car and took off to meet up with a real estate agent in Great Neck. None of the houses interested them so they decided to pay a call on their friend, humor writer Ring Lardner, 37, at his home on East Shore Road looking out over Manhasset Bay.

Ring was already drunker than they were, so after only a few more drinks the group headed back to the Plaza. Zelda insisted on stopping at an amusement park along the way so she could ride the Ferris Wheel, and Scott stayed in the car drinking from a bottle that he had hidden there. Dos Passos decided his new friends were going to have a hard time adjusting to strictly domestic life.

After several other house-hunting trips, the Fitzgeralds finally found this lovely home at 6 Gateway Drive, in the leafy confines of Great Neck Estates:  A circular driveway; red-tiled roof; great big pine tree in the front yard; and a room above the garage where Scott can write in peace.

6 Gateway Drive, Great Neck

Zelda took off to retrieve Scottie in St. Paul, leaving Fitzgerald to hire servants and a baby nurse. He sure has screwed that up.

Despite his recent writing success, and encouragement from his publisher, Scott really isn’t making enough to afford the rent, the servants, the laundress, the nurse, the country club, the theatre tickets, the restaurant bills, and the Rolls Royce (second hand) that living in Great Neck requires.

Zelda doesn’t care. The finances are his problem.

“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 available 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.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with 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”:  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, 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 30, 1922, Central Park West, New York City, New York

If Irish-American lawyer and patron of the arts John Quinn, 52, wants to get out of the city as planned to spend all of August with his sister and niece in the Adirondacks, he has a bit of correspondence to catch up on.

Quinn has been corresponding with his emissary in Paris, Henri-Pierre Roche, 43, about leaving his best French paintings to the government of France, to be cared for in the Louvre. Roche has been negotiating to have Quinn acquire The Circus by Georges Seurat. Roche wrote to him at the beginning of the month about a crazy day when he and Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, 40, went flying around Paris carrying a Cezanne landscape with them in a taxi, stopping at every shop to buy up all the suitable frames they could find.

The Circus by Georges Seurat

One of the writers Quinn supports, American T. S. Eliot, 33, living in London, has written to give him power of attorney when negotiating a contract with Boni and Liveright to publish his latest work, an untitled lengthy poem. They are not sure, however, if it will be lengthy enough to appear as a book. Eliot writes that he is planning to add some notes to make it fatter. Quinn is finally getting around to reading the typescript Eliot has sent and is turning it over to his office secretary to make a copy that can be submitted to Liveright.

Typescript of poem by T. S. Eliot

Quinn is finishing off a lengthy letter to one of his Irish friends, poet and painter AE (George Russell, 55). Their mutual friend, Lady Augusta Gregory, 70, had recently asked Quinn to recommend painters for inclusion in the Hugh Lane Gallery, which she is trying to establish in memory of her nephew who went down with the Lusitania seven years ago. Quinn reports to AE that he told her that of the dead ones he would rank, in order, Cezanne, Seurat (much better than Renoir), and Rousseau. He puts Gauguin and van Gogh a bit farther down.

Of living artists he would include Picasso, Georges Braque, 40; Andre Derain, 42; and Henri Matisse, 52; in the first tier. In the second, Raoul Dufy, 45; Constantin Brancusi, 46—whom he has become good friends with—and Georges Rouault, 51.

Quinn tells AE that he would add a third tier of the living:  Juan Gris, 35; Marie Laurencin, 39; and Jacques Villon, about to turn 47, among others.

The Winged Horse by AE

Quinn’s longest letter is to another Irish friend, poet and playwright, William Butler Yeats, 57. He brings Willie up to date on the recent funeral of his father, whom Quinn had taken care of during the past 15 years in New York City. The Yeats family decided it would be better for Dad to be buried in the States, and Quinn arranged a site in upstate New York: 

If you and your sisters could see the place, I am sure you would have approved of [our] selection. When Lady Gregory was here the last time, lecturing, she told me one day, half in earnest and half in fun, that if she died in this country she wanted to be buried where she died, unless she died in Pittsburgh. She refused to be buried in Pittsburgh…One day downtown, when I was having coffee after lunch with two or three men, one of them said:  ‘Times change. Now there is [famous actress] Lillian Russell. In the old days she was supposed to have had many lovers and she was married and divorced four or five times. But years go by, and she marries again, and settles down, and finally dies in the odor of—’

‘Pittsburgh,’ said I.

Lady Gregory refused to be buried in the odor of Pittsburgh.”

Quinn ends by congratulating Yeats on his honorary degree from Trinity College and asks that Willie’s wife send him some photos of their children and Thoor Ballylee, the tower they are living in.

Now he is ready to pack up and go on a well-earned vacation.

Pittsburgh, 1912, when Lady Gregory visited with The Abbey Theatre

“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 28, 1922, Four Courts, Dublin and Thoor Ballylee, Co. Galway, Ireland; Munich and Berlin, Germany

In the general election almost two weeks ago, candidates supporting the Treaty recently negotiated with Britain won more seats in the Dail than those against. The sore losers, led by Eamon de Valera, 39, seized the Four Courts in Dublin.

Under pressure from the impatient British government, Michael Collins, 31, leader of the pro-Treaty side and now Commander-in-Chief of the National Army, drove them out today. The Battle for Dublin and the larger Irish Civil War has begun.

First day of the Battle of Dublin

*****

In his castle in the west of Ireland, William Butler Yeats, 57, poet and co-founder of the Abbey Theater, writes to a friend,

All is I think going well and the principal result of all this turmoil will be love of order in the people and a stability in the government not otherwise obtainable…”

*****

Four days ago in Munich, the rabble-rousing Adolph Hitler, 33, leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party, entered the Stadelheim prison to begin serving his 100-day sentence for assaulting a political rival to keep him from giving a public speech.

*****

Four days ago in Berlin, far-right terrorists assassinated liberal Jewish industrialist and politician Walther Rathenau, 54.

Friends inform last year’s Nobel Laureate in Physics, Albert Einstein, 43, that he is on the same terrorists’ hit list as Rathenau.

Albert decides that this would be a good time to embark on the numerous international trips he has been planning.

Albert Einstein and his second wife, Elsa

Thanks once again to Neil Weatherall, author of the play The Passion of the Playboy Riots, for his help in sorting out Irish 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 the fall, I will be talking about the centenary of The Waste Land in the Osher programs 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 21, 1922, 31 Nassau Street, New York City, New York

About three years ago, New York lawyer John Quinn, 51, had helped to negotiate a contract for an American poet living in London, T. S. Eliot, then 30, with Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. for the publication of his Poems. Eliot had felt that the original contract advantaged the publisher more than the published. Quinn was glad to do it; he advised Eliot that he was well-known enough now to secure the services of a literary agent and hadn’t heard from him since.

Poems by T. S. Eliot, UK edition

Through their mutual friend, another American poet living abroad, Ezra Pound, 36, Quinn knows that Eliot is working on a “big” poem, probably his best work.

Today, Quinn receives a telegram from Eliot in London: 

DISSATISFIED LIVERIGHTS CONTRACT POEM

MAY I ASK YOUR ASSISTANCE APOLOGIES WRITING ELIOT”

Quinn cables back right away:

GLAD TO ASSIST EVERY WAY POSSIBLE YOUR CONTRACT”

The second cable he sends today is to his Irish friend, poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, just turned 57, who has written to ask if he may dedicate his memoirs to Quinn:

Yeats

Ballylee

Gort

County Galway

Ireland

GREATLY TOUCHED AND DELIGHTED YOUR SUGGESTION

DEDICATION MEMOIRS.

GLADLY ACCEPT THO PERSONALLY FEEL LADY GREGORY DESERVES

THAT HONOR MUCH MORE THAN I.

(Signed)

QUINN”

“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”:  100 Years Ago, June, 1922, on the newsstands of America

The Dial magazine has “More Memories” by Irish playwright William Butler Yeats, just turned 57, and two line drawings by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, 40. Its monthly columns include “Paris Letter” by American ex-pat poet Ezra Pound, 36, and “Dublin Letter” by the recently retired Head Librarian of the National Library of Ireland, John Eglinton, 54, actually writing from his home in Bournemouth, England. He reviews the new novel Ulysses by his fellow Dubliner, James Joyce, 40, living in Paris: 

The Dial, June 1922

I am by no means sure, however, that I have understood Mr. Joyce’s method, which is sufficiently puzzling even where he relates incidents in which I have myself taken a humble part…There is an effort and a strain in the composition of this book which makes one feel at times a concern for the author. But why should we half-kill ourselves to write masterpieces? There is a growing divergence between the literary ideals of our artists and the books which human beings want to read.”

The New York Times Book Review has a review of The Secret Adversary, the second novel from English writer Agatha Christie, 31: 

It is safe to assert that unless the reader peers into the last chapter or so of the tale, he will not know who this secret adversary is until the author chooses to reveal him…[Miss Christie] gives a sense of plausibility to the most preposterous situations and developments…[But she] has a clever prattling style that shifts easily into amusing dialogue and so aids the pleasure of the reader as he tears along with Tommy and Tuppence on the trail of the mysterious Mr. Brown. Many of the situations are a bit moth-eaten from frequent usage by other quarters, but at that Miss Christie manages to invest them with a new sense of individuality that renders them rather absorbing.”

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie, US edition

Metropolitan magazine has a piece, “Eulogy for the Flapper” by Zelda Fitzgerald, 22, who is considered to be the original flapper, as created in the two recent hit novels by her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 25: 

The flapper is deceased…They have won their case. They are blase…Flapperdom has become a game; it is no longer a philosophy.”

The Smart Set has a short story by Zelda’s husband, “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”: 

[Percy Washington boasts that his father is] by far the richest man in the world and has a diamond bigger than the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.”

The Smart Set, June 1922

The Saturday Evening Post has two pieces by friends who lunch together regularly at the midtown Manhattan Algonquin Hotel:  “Men I’m Not Married To” by free-lance writer Dorothy Parker, 28, and “Women I’m Not Married To” by popular newspaper columnist FPA [Franklin Pierce Adams], 40.

Saturday Evening Post, June 1922

The Double Dealer, A National Magazine. from the South, true to its mission to publish new work by new writers has “Portrait,” a poem by recent University of Mississippi dropout, William Faulkner, 24, and “Ultimately,” a four-line poem by Toronto Star foreign correspondent Ernest Hemingway, 22, a Chicagoan currently living in Paris: 

He tried to spit out the truth

Dry-mouthed at first,

He drooled and slobbered in the end

Truth dribbling his chin.”

The Double Dealer magazine

“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 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.

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

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

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 16, Easter, 1922, Thoor Ballylee, near Gort; Dominick Street, Galway City; and Rutland Square, Dublin

Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 56, and his family are settling in nicely to their new country home in the west of Ireland. Well, not a traditional “country home.” A Norman tower, actually. Which Yeats has renamed Thoor Ballylee.

Thoor Ballylee

From the top of his tower he can see the Aughty Mountains to the east and the hills of the Burren to the West.

He writes to friends,

All we can see from our windows is beautiful and quiet…Everything is so beautiful that to go elsewhere is to leave beauty behind.”

*****

Yet, about 20 miles away in Galway City, Nora Barnacle, 38, home from Paris on a family visit, is staying in her uncle’s house with her two children, Giorgio, 16, and Lucia, 14.

Galway City

Insurgents from the Irish Republican Army [IRA], fighting against the right of the newly declared Irish Free State to uphold the Anglo-Irish Treaty, burst into the house.

They demand to use the bedroom as a base to fire on their enemies out the window.

Nora is appalled. And panicked. Her partner, the father of her children, Irish novelist James Joyce, 40, had begged her to not come here. He knows there is a Civil War raging throughout the country and he fears for their safety. He has been writing her anguished letters from their home in Paris ever since she left.

I am like a man looking into a dark pool,”

Joyce writes to her.

She and the children arrived a few weeks ago, coming over via London, which Nora really enjoyed. She might try to convince Jim to move there, rather than continue to live in Paris. At least they’d be surrounded by the English language.

But right now, Nora is thinking that she needs to get herself and her kids on a train to Dublin as fast as she can.

*****

Michael Collins, 31, recently named Chair of the Provisional Government of the pro-Treaty Irish Free State, gets out of his car at Vaughan’s Hotel in Rutland Square, followed by other members of the National Army. A group of 12 anti-government, armed IRA men rush by him and start shooting at his entourage. Collins fires at them with his revolver and disarms one of the younger men. The boy admits he didn’t realize that he had just shot at the leader of the Irish Free State. Good thing he missed.

Vaughan’s Hotel

My thanks to Rena McAllen, member of the board of directors of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, for assistance with details of Thoor Ballylee, and Neil Weatherall, author of the play, The Playboy Riots, for assistance with details of the Irish Civil War.

“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.