“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, October 20, 1921, Vienna, Austria

Scofield Thayer, 31, editor of the American literary magazine, The Dial, has come here specifically to be psychoanalyzed by the legendary Professor Sigmund Freud, 65, for a fee of $100 per week.

Sigmund Freud’s house in Vienna

On the way from New York to Vienna, Thayer stopped off for a bit in Paris, meeting up with one of his magazine’s main contributors, American poet Ezra Pound, about to turn 36, who was kind enough to introduce him around to other ex-pats such as writer Gertrude Stein, 47. and her partner Alice B. Toklas, 44.

With him in Paris was yet another American poet, E. E. Cummings, just turned 27. Thayer has been helping to raise the daughter Cummings fathered two years ago with Thayer’s wife, Elaine Orr Thayer, 25. Scofield and Elaine have just recently finalized their divorce.

Elaine Thayer and her daughter

While Scofield is living in Vienna, which he plans will be for the next two years, he is still running The Dial. He supervises the contents, approves layouts, and tries to drum up some investment from wealthy Europeans he knows.

Thayer has decided to abandon his European expansion plans for his magazine. Another of his ex-pat poet contributors, Tom Eliot, 33, and he have been in talks with Lady Margaret Rothermere, 47, wife of the publisher of the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, about funding a UK version of The Dial.

But it has become clear that Lady Rothermere is more interested in supporting a new magazine that Eliot has proposed—The Criterion—rather than the expansion of an existing one from the States.

Withdrawing from the field, today Thayer writes to Eliot’s wife Vivien, 33, who is now handling all of Tom’s correspondence, that “the multiplication of magazines” in the market would not be a good thing: 

The more artistic journals you publish the more money is wasted on printers, and paper dealers and the less is left for the artists themselves.”

Scofield Thayer

“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 in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Next week I will be speaking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in 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 available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, end of July, 1921, 12 rue de Boulainvilliers, Paris

From the day he arrived in Paris, just a week or so ago, American ex-patriate artist Man Ray, 30, has been introduced to the most interesting creative people in the city.

His friend from their days in New York City, French artist Marcel Duchamp, just turned 34, met him as promised at the Gare St. Lazare upon his arrival. The next day they went to the Dada Café to meet the French legendary lights of that movement:  writer Andre Breton, 25; poet Paul Eluard, also 25; and writer Philippe Soupault, 23, who offered Ray an exhibit at his bookstore this coming fall. Ray has been turning down offers of shows from dealers in Germany and Belgium because it is important to him that his first European show is in Paris.

Surrealists at an exhibit opening, with Philippe Soupault and Andre Breton on the ladder

Duchamp also arranged for a place for Ray to live. The Romanian-French Dada poet Tristan Tzara, 25, is off traveling for three months so Ray has taken over his studio here in Passy. Based on the sign in the window Ray was referring to this as the “Hotel Meuble,” until Duchamp explains that “meuble” means that the rooms are furnished.

12 rue de Boulainvilliers, Passy

Into this cramped space, Ray has managed to squeeze a bed and three large cameras. He develops his photos in the tiny closet.

Ray has already secured a commission to photograph the autumn line of French couturier Paul Poiret, 42, but Ray is actually more interested in sticking to portraiture.

At a party hosted by a wealthy visiting American couple, Ray struck up a conversation with an American writer he has heard a lot about—Gertrude Stein, 47. She has been living in Paris for almost 20 years now, and hosts salons with other ex-pats in her apartment on 27 rue de Fleurus which she shares with her partner, fellow San Franciscan Alice B. Toklas, 44.

Ray told Stein that he would like to photograph her and invited the two women to be the first to visit his little studio.

They are due any minute. As soon as their visit is over, Ray is going to meet up with a fascinating Frenchwoman he also met recently, Alice Prin, 19, known around town as “Kiki, the Queen of Montparnasse.”

Kiki of Montparnasse

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about Writers Salons in Dublin and London before the Great War 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 available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

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

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, July, 1921, en route to and in Paris

Everyone’s coming to Paris…

On board ship, steaming from the United States to France, Irish-American attorney John Quinn, 51, is finally starting to relax.

Leaving his successful law office behind to go on this holiday feels as though he has been let out of prison.

On previous European trips Quinn has focused on visiting with his friends in Dublin and London. This time he is going to spend the whole time in Paris. Specifically meeting with the artists and writers whom he has been supporting financially for the past few years.

Back in May he arranged through the secretary of state to get a passport for his representative [and lover] Mrs. Jeanne Foster, 42, to precede him and arrange meetings with art dealers and artists.

In particular he is looking forward to in-person dinners with…

Constantin Brancusi, 45. Quinn became familiar with the Romanian sculptor’s work when he exhibited in the 1913 Armory Show, which Quinn helped to organize. Quinn has bought two versions of Brancusi’s Mlle. Pogany, and keeps some of his works in the foyer of his Central Park West apartment. As Quinn has written to the grateful artist earlier this year,

1 can’t have too much of a beautiful thing.”

Mlle. Pogany by Constantin Brancusi

Gwen John, 45. Quinn is her number one buyer. He bought one of the many versions of a portrait the Welsh painter did of Mere Marie Poussepin, the founder of the order of nuns Ms. John lives next door to in a Paris suburb. Quinn much prefers her work to that of her brother, painter Augustus John, 43, whom he stopped supporting a few years ago after a dispute.

One version of Mere Marie Poussepin by Gwen John

James Joyce, 39. Quinn has been buying up the manuscript of Joyce’s novel Ulysses as the ex-pat Irishman works on it. And he defended [pro bono, of course] the American magazine, The Little Review, which dared to publish “obscene” excerpts of the novel. Quinn is quite proud that he got the publishers off with a $100 fine and no jail sentence.

Now it’s time to put legal issues behind him and enjoy Paris.

*****

Scofield Thayer, 31, is in Paris en route to Vienna. He feels he can continue his position as editor and co-owner of the New York-based The Dial literary magazine while he is living in Europe. The international postal service and Western Union should make it easy enough for him to work remotely.

The foreign editor of The Dial, American ex-patriate poet Ezra Pound, 35, is hosting Thayer for his few days in Paris. Pound came to visit him at his hotel, the Hotel Continental on rue de Castiglione, and brought along another American poet, E. E. Cummings, 26, whom Scofield had known at Harvard. Cummings recently returned to Paris and is working on a novel about his experiences as an ambulance driver here during the Great War.

Hotel Continental on rue de Castiglione

Most interesting, however, was the visit Pound arranged to another American writer, Gertrude Stein, 47, and her partner Alice B. Toklas, 44, at 27 rue de Fleurus. They had just met one of The Dial’s main contributors, Sherwood Anderson, 44, author of the successful collection of stories, Winesburg, Ohio. Stein and Toklas discussed with Thayer how impressed they are with Anderson, who is a big fan of Gertrude’s work.

Now Scofield is ready to move on to the next leg of his trip:  To Vienna and psychoanalysis treatment with Sigmund Freud, 65.

*****

Vanity Fair managing editor Edmund Wilson, 26, after staying a few days in a hotel, has moved to this pension at 16 rue de Four.

16 rue du Four

Since arriving in Paris last month, Wilson has seen the object of his affections, American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, 29, a few times. But it is clear to him that she is no longer interested. Edna has told him about her new lover, “a big red-haired British journalist,” as Wilson writes to his friend back at Vanity Fair, John Peale Bishop, also 29. He tells Bishop that Edna

looks well…and has a new distinction of dress, but she can no longer intoxicate me with her beauty, or throw bombs into my soul.”

Time to move on.

*****

Over at the bookstore Shakespeare & Co. on rue Dupuytren, American owner Sylvia Beach, 34, has said goodbye to her new friend, novelist Anderson, whom she introduced to Stein and Toklas earlier this summer. He and his wife are headed to London and then back home to Chicago.

Sylvia also feels it’s time to leave Paris, but just for a bit. She and her partner Adrienne Monnier, 29, are planning a short holiday. But first Sylvia wants to settle her bookshop in its new location.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is available in print and e-book format on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I am talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at the University of Pittsburgh. In the fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher 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 available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

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

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, early summer, 1921, 27 rue de Fleurus, Paris

He is so anxious to know you, for he says you have influenced him ever so much and that you stand as such a great master of words,”

reads the letter of introduction that Sylvia Beach, 34, owner of the Left Bank bookshop Shakespeare & Co., has sent to Gertrude Stein, 47, about their visiting fellow American, novelist Sherwood Anderson, 44. Gertrude and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, also 44, instantly decide that they would love to meet him.

Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein at home

A few days ago, Beach had found Anderson looking at his own book, Winesburg, Ohio, in the display window of her shop, and invited him in. Even after having great success two years ago with that collection of stories focused on the residents of one town, he still works in an ad agency back in Chicago. But a generous benefactor agreed to pay his expenses for this first trip to Europe. Anderson has read some of Stein’s work in obscure American publications and has been impressed by her radical approach to writing.

Anderson and his wife Tennessee, 47, arrive at 27 rue de Fleurus, anticipating being in the presence of greatness. Alice is out running errands, but they talk at length with Gertrude about writing and writers. Sherwood tells her how much her writing has meant to him, and how it gave him confidence to keep going.

27 rue de Fleurus

When Alice comes back, Gertrude tells her how impressed she is with Anderson. She has been writing for years but has few publications and little recognition. Sherwood praising her work means so much to her.

Gertrude and Alice hope that Sherwood will be Stein’s link to the publishing world in America.

This summer, everyone’s coming to Paris…

NB:  The first meeting of Stein, Toklas and Anderson is where I mark in my research the beginning of the Americans in Paris salon.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is available on Amazon in print and e-book versions. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I am talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs 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 available on Amazon in both print and e-book formats.

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 4, 1921, Paris

Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, 39, and his wife, Russian-Ukrainian ballerina Olga Khokhlova Picasso, 29, are pleased to welcome their first child, Paulo, born today.

Portrait d’Olga dans un fauteuil (Olga in an Armchair), by Picasso, 1918

Across the city, at 27 rue de Fleurus, American ex-pat writer Gertrude Stein, 47, and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, 43, are also pleased. The friendship between Stein and Picasso has had its ups and downs recently, but Gertrude feels a connection with Paulo because he is born one day after her own birthday. She decides to write him a birthday book, with one line for every day in the year.

Pablo and Olga Picasso

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series of books, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is available in print and e-book formats from Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

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. Later this month I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

My “Such Friends” presentations, The Founding of the Abbey Theatre and Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, are available to view for free on the website of PICT Classic Theatre.

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”:  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, 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, January 1, 1920…

 

America was going on the greatest, gaudiest spree in history and there was going to be plenty to tell about it. –F. Scott Fitzgerald

fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald

That was 100 years ago. So here we are again. At the beginning of the Twenties. Will this be a similar decade?!

There’s one way to tell:  To look back at certain points and document what was happening a century before, with the artists and writers who were “Such Friends”:

William Butler Yeats and the Irish Literary Renaissance,

Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group,

Gertrude Stein and the Americans in Paris, and

Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table,

in Ireland, England, France and America.

As the new decade begins…

Irish poet W B Yeats, 54, is getting ready to go back to the United States on his third American lecture tour, this time with his wife, Georgie Hyde-Lees, 28. They are leaving the baby Anne, just 11 months old, back in Ireland with his sisters.

Yeats and Geo 1923

Georgie and William Butler Yeats

Hogarth Press owners, novelist Virginia Woolf, about to turn 38, and her husband Leonard, 39, have been celebrating the holidays at Monk’s House in Sussex, which they bought last year at auction. This coming year, they want to spend more time outside of too-busy London.

Va and Leon

Virginia and Leonard Woolf

In Paris, American writer Gertrude Stein, 45, and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, 42, are still getting back to normal after the Armistice. Their apartment, on the Left Bank near the Luxembourg Gardens, had hosted salons for all the local painters before the Great War. Who will come now?

Gert and Alice with the paintings

Alice B. Toklas and her partner Gertrude Stein with Picassos

Vanity Fair writers Dorothy Parker, 26, Robert Benchley, 30, and their “such friends” are lunching regularly at the Algonquin Hotel in midtown Manhattan. And trying to drink up in the last few weeks before the Volstead Act—Prohibition—goes into effect. It won’t slow them down.

parkerbenchley cartoon

Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley

Join me on a journey through the “Literary 1920s,” tracking these characters in their place and time, 100 years ago. Happy New Year!

“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.

 

‘Such Friends’: 1921, Summer, Left Bank, Paris

In the past few weeks I have been posting vignettes about how each of the four writers’ salons came together. This is the beginning of Gertrude Stein and the Americans in Paris:

‘He is so anxious to know you, for he says you have influenced him ever so much and that you stand as such a great master of words,’

read the note that Sylvia Beach, 34. owner of the Left Bank bookshop Shakespeare & Co., sent to Gertrude Stein, 47, about their fellow American, novelist Sherwood Anderson, 44. Gertrude and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, also 44, instantly decided that they would love to meet him.

Beach had found Anderson looking in the display window of her shop, and invited him in.  He had left his advertising job after having success with Winesburg, Ohio, his collection of stories focused on the residents of one town. Anderson had read some of Stein’s work in American publications and was impressed by her radical approach to writing.

27 rue de fleurus

27 rue de Fleurus

Anderson and his wife Tennessee, 47, arrived at 27 rue de Fleurus, anticipating being in the presence of greatness.  As Toklas remembered later in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, by Gertrude Stein:

‘For some reason or other I was not present on this occasion, some domestic complication in all probability, at any rate when I did come home Gertrude Stein was moved and pleased as she has very rarely been. Gertrude Stein was in those days a little bitter, all her unpublished manuscripts, and no hope of publication or serious recognition. Sherwood Anderson came and quite simply and directly as is his way told her what he thought of her work and what it had meant to him in his development. He told it to her then and what was even rarer he told it in print immediately after. Gertrude Stein and Sherwood Anderson have always been the best of friends but I do not believe even he realizes how much his visit meant to her.’

When the Andersons went back to America, they told others of the wonders of postwar Paris. They sent a young reporter, Ernest Hemingway, 22, and his new wife Hadley, 29, to Stein. A few years later, Hemingway brought successful novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, 24, and his wife Zelda, 21, to Stein. And so the influx of American writers and their wives to 27 rue de Fleurus began:

‘The geniuses came and talked to Gertrude Stein and the wives sat with me. How they unroll, an endless vista thru the years…Hadley and Pauline Hemingway and Mrs. Sherwood Anderson, and Mrs. Bravig Imbs and the Mrs. Ford Maddox Ford and endless others, geniuses, near geniuses and might be geniuses, all having wives, and I have sat and talked with them all all the wives…’

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

This fall, I will be teaching a class in the first semester of the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute [OLLI], ‘Such Friends’:  The Literary 1920s in Dublin, London, Paris and New York.

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

To read about American writers, Manager as Muse explores Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ work with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe and is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.

‘Such Friends’ Bloomsbury Walk, Part 3: Fitzroy Square

A few months ago, I was thrilled to be asked by the Charleston Farmhouse to lead my walk through Bloomsbury for a group attending their Bloomsbury Revisited event in London. You can download a shorter version from the Voicemap.me website. But, if you’re not able to walk around London listening to me on headphones, I have posted the text of the walk here with photos, so you can follow along from anywhere. There are three parts, Tavistock Square, Gordon Square and Fitzroy Square. Here is Part 3:

  1. Grafton Way near Tottenham Court Road

Welcome back! But for those of you just joining us, I’m Dr. Kathleen Dixon Donnelly and I am your guide for this walk.

My research was about writers and artists who ‘hung out’ together in salons in the early part of the last century, on either side of World War I. The four groups are Irish poet William Butler Yeats and his friends who founded the Abbey Theatre; Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury, of course; Gertrude Stein and the American writers in Paris, and Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table.

Yeats ended his poem, The Municipal Gallery Revisited, with the lines:

Think where man’s glory most begins and ends,

and say my glory was I had such friends.’

so I have used ‘Such Friends’ as the title for all my work about ‘my’ writers and artists.

Here we are in the heart of Bloomsbury, heading towards Fitzroy Square where Virginia lived with her brother Adrian, when they were in their 20s. The Northumberland Arms pub across the street is a great spot for a pint.

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Northumberland Arms pub, Grafton Way and Tottenham Court Road

Let’s talk about one of the other Bloomsberries, writer and publisher Leonard Woolf.

After graduating from Cambridge University, Leonard joined the Colonial Service and was assigned to represent the crown in Jaffna, Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. He realized the absurdity of a 25-year-old with no experience taking charge of an entire country. Leonard spent seven years there, and, ironically, while Virginia’s brother Thoby Stephen died from a misdiagnosis of typhoid in London, Leonard was successfully treated for it in the jungle.

Leonard was not happy in the post, and in 1911 he applied to come back to England on leave. He had kept in touch with his university friends—many of whom were, like him, members of the Cambridge association, the Apostles.

Although the Apostles were then a ‘secret’ society by invitation only, they became less secret in the 1950s when it was revealed that British spies Guy Burgess and Kim Philby had been members when they were recruited by the Communist Party.

Leonard had met Virginia and Vanessa Stephen years before when they had come to visit Thoby at Cambridge. Later, Leonard wrote of his first impression of the sisters:

Their beauty literally took one’s breath away…One stopped astonished…It was almost impossible for a man not to fall in love with them and I think that I did at once.’

Even in Ceylon, Leonard had corresponded with Cambridge friends, such as Lytton Strachey, who wrote him letters about the lovely evenings he would spend in conversation with Virginia, Vanessa, Duncan Grant, Clive Bell and Maynard Keynes. So when Leonard came home, he couldn’t wait to get back in to the cultural and social life of his friends. He and Virginia became re-acquainted when he came to dinner one summer night at Gordon Square in 1911.

In the Bloomsbury group, I identified Leonard as the ‘Sponsor.’ He might not have been the most witty, or social, or rich, but he served as an administrator with Roger Fry’s art exhibits and, with Virginia’s help, bought the printing press to start Hogarth Press. The Sponsor in each group either had the money or resources—like Edward Martyn, the philanthropist behind the Abbey Theatre and other Irish institutions, or Robert McAlmon, an independent publisher in Paris—or got the money—like Leonard, or Harold Ross the founder of The New Yorker magazine.

Let’s walk down to Fitzroy Square.

  1. Fitzroy Square

Approaching Fitzroy Square, the newer building on your left is the Indian YMCA. This is one of your tips on where to eat cheap in London; they have a lovely cafeteria with great curries.

Indian YMCA Fitzroy Square

Indian YMCA, Fitzroy Square

A few years ago I attended a travel writing workshop here. It was advertised in the Guardian newspaper, and I figured it was a good omen that it was in Bloomsbury.

The writer who taught the daylong session gave us an assignment for our lunch break. When he announced what it was, I couldn’t believe my ears. He wanted us to

write about this neighbourhood.’

Seriously. I had been in training for that assignment for more than twenty years!

Fitzroy Square

Fitzroy Square

Like many sections of Bloomsbury, Fitzroy Square has a colourful history. Lytton’s parents had a house here in the 19th century. In the Edwardian era, Augustus John had a studio in Number 8, where Vanessa and Duncan had studios and parties in the 1920s. Painter Walter Sickert had a studio in Number 19. Vanessa studied with Sickert, and you might have read that American crime writer Patricia Cromwell has fingered him as Jack the Ripper.

Duncan and Maynard lived here together in Number 21, and in World War I, Belgian refugees were held here. None of these have plaques.

We’ll walk over to Number 29, Virginia and her brother Adrian’s house. There’s a bench if you want to sit.

  1. Number 29 Fitzroy Square

Number 29 Fitzroy Square is the one with two plaques. George Bernard Shaw’s Irish family lived here in the late 19th century.

29 Fitzroy Square and me

Your intrepid tour guide at Number 29 Fitzroy Square

In 1907 when Virginia moved in, she was 25 and living with her brother. While her married painter sister decorated Gordon Square with the latest in cubist art, Virginia and Adrian kept their interior simple. Adrian had a study full of books that looked out here onto the square.

To avoid competition, the sisters would alternate the at-homes on Thursday nights between the two locations; sometimes the guests would walk from one to the other, like we just did.

In her own home, hosting her own salons, Virginia’s confidence grew. She and Vanessa slowly realized why their brother’s friends weren’t interested in them as women—most were gay. The evenings were for conversation, and as Virginia wrote later, she would

stumble off to bed feeling that something very important had happened. It had been proved that beauty was—or beauty was not—for I have never been quite sure which—part of a picture.’

Now with

a room of her own,’

she began her first novel, Melymbrosia, eventually published in 1915 as The Voyage Out. She remembered later that she had the luxury of writing

in comparative splendour—[with] a maid, carpet, fires…’

Great parties were also held here, including one where Maynard and a topless Vanessa allegedly copulated on the floor.

But not all the evenings were a success. Virginia remembered that one had ended thus:

Adrian stalked off to his room, I to mine in complete silence.’

By the time Leonard showed up, in 1911, the lease on Fitzroy Square was up, so Virginia and Adrian were planning to move to a more communal arrangement with Duncan, Maynard and others, in Brunswick Square. They asked Leonard to join them.

However, shortly after they set up this friendly commune, Leonard decided that, instead of going back to Ceylon, he would propose to Virginia. After months of persuasion, she accepted. They married in August 1912 and moved to their own flat in Clifford’s Inn.

  1. Number 33 Fitzroy Square, the Omega Workshops

We’ll end our walk with the building to your left, Number 33.

Number 33 Fitzroy Square

Number 33 Fitzroy Square, currently undergoing refurbishment

Here we meet our last Bloomsbury, art critic Roger Fry, the ‘Link,’ where he opened the Omega Workshops.

Fry had had a studio in Fitzroy Square, but didn’t begin socializing with the others until a fateful day in 1910. He’d lost his job with the New York Metropolitan Museum, and had to commit his wife to an asylum. Fry was on the platform of the Cambridge railway station and recognized Vanessa and Clive Bell whom he’d met socially before. They chatted, and by the time they reached London, Roger was in the group!

At 43, Fry was older than the others, because each salon had a ‘Link,’ with better connections, who helped the younger ones become more mainstream. For the Irish, it was Lady Gregory, with the government connections to start a theatre; for the Americans in Paris it was Sherwood Anderson, already a successful novelist; and for the Round Table, FPA was the top New York columnist who publicized the others constantly.

Fry used inherited money to rent this building. In 1912 he opened the Omega Workshops with Vanessa and Duncan. Vanessa suggested having a Bloomsbury party to celebrate:

We should get all our disreputable and some of your aristocratic friends to come, and…there should be decorated furniture, painted walls, etc. There we should all get drunk and dance and kiss, orders would flow in, and the aristocrats would feel they were really in the thick of things.’

During these years, Vanessa and Roger carried on quite a torrid affair, in Bloomsbury and Sussex. At one point Clive asked his wife why Roger was around so often, but beyond that, he didn’t protest. He just got on with his own affairs.

The Omega was successful for five years, but was sold off in June 1919. Despite exhibitions and conferences and parties, the Workshops never covered their costs, and Roger, like all arts supporters, spent a lot of his time fund-raising.

Customers who had bought the fashionable handmade pottery and textiles included Yeats and Shaw, but also Ottoline Morrell, HG Wells, EM Forster, Rupert Brooke, Ezra Pound and Augustus John.

The workmen here tell me that, because this is a listed building, it is being renovated back to its original fittings, to be a private residence. There is a plaque, but it’s covered by the scaffolding now.

omega roger-fry-blue-plaque

Blue plaque on Number 33 Fitzroy Square

And how did the group end?

Let’s go back to Maynard. He went to work in the Treasury department during the early part of ‘The Great War.’ His Bloomsbury friends, who were famously pacifist, were not happy about this job, which eventually contributed to the point I identify as the break-up of the group.

In January of 1915, Keynes celebrated his new role by giving himself a party at the fabulous Café Royal, near Piccadilly Circus. In-between Vanessa and Duncan he sat the infamous editor Edward ‘Bunny’ Garnett, and soon after those three were living together in a boathouse in Sussex.

Around the same time, Virginia and Leonard decided to move to Richmond. On her 33rd birthday, 25th January, 1915, they went for tea and resolved to buy Hogarth House, which they had seen out in Richmond, buy a printing press, and get a bulldog named John. Never got the bulldog.

Once one or more of the key players withdraw, the groups dissipate. Yeats stopped working with the Abbey; Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas stopped inviting people to salons; and Robert Benchley left Dorothy Parker and friends to move to Hollywood to work in the movies.

Although the Bloomsberries still saw each other frequently, the days of wandering in and out of each others’ houses, staying up late drinking whisky and cocoa, were over. As Virginia remembered that time,

Talking, talking, talking,…as if everything could be talked—the soul itself slipped through the lips in thin silver discs which dissolve in young men’s minds like silver, like moonlight.’

Thanks for walking with me and our ‘Such Friends.’

If you missed the first two parts, you can search for ‘Such Friends’ Bloomsbury Walk, Part 1:  Tavistock Square and Part 2:  Gordon Square.

To read about American writers, Manager as Muse explores Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ work with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe and is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.