“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, December 31, 1922/January 1, 1923, Ireland, England, France and America

At the end of the third year of the 1920s…

In Ireland, despite living in the middle of a Civil War, and the death of his 82-year-old father this past February, poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 57, has had a pretty good year.

He is enjoying his appointment to the newly formed Senate of the Irish Free State, engineered by his friend and family doctor, Oliver St. John Gogarty, 44, who managed to get himself appointed as well.

Irish Free State Great Seal

Much to Yeats’ surprise, the position comes with an income, making it the first paying job he has ever had. The money, as he writes to a friend,

of which I knew nothing when I accepted, will compensate me somewhat for the chance of being burned or bombed. We are a fairly distinguished body, much more so than the lower house, and should get much government into our hands…How long our war is to last nobody knows. Some expect it to end this Xmas and some equally well informed expect another three years.”

Indeed, although Senator Yeats has been provided with an armed guard at his house, two bullets were shot through the front door of his family home in Merrion Square on Christmas Eve.

82 Merrion Square

A few blocks away the Abbey Theatre, which he helped to found 18 years ago, is still doing well under the director and co-founder Lady Augusta Gregory, 70. John Bull’s Other Island, a play by his fellow Dubliner, George Bernard Shaw, 66, is being performed, starring part-time actor and full-time civil servant Barry Fitzgerald, 34.

George Bernard Shaw

Yeats has been awarded an Honorary D. Litt. From Trinity College, Dublin. He writes to a friend that this makes him feel “that I have become a personage.”

*****

In England, at Monk’s House, their country home in East Sussex, the Woolfs, Virginia, 40, and Leonard, 42, are reviewing the state of their five-year-old publishing company, the Hogarth Press.

The road outside Monk’s House

They have added 37 members to the Press’ subscribers list and have agreed to publish a new poem by their friend, American ex-pat Thomas Stearns Eliot, 34, called The Waste Land early in the new year. Virginia has donated £50 to a fund to help “poor Tom,” as she calls him, who still has a full-time day job at Lloyds Bank. Eliot takes the £50, as well as the $2,000 Dial magazine prize he has been awarded in America and sets up a trust fund for himself and his wife Vivienne, 34.

The Hogarth Press has published six titles this year, the same as last. But most important to Virginia, one of them, Jacob’s Room, is her first novel not published by her hated stepbrother, Gerald Duckworth, 52. She can write as she pleases now.

Most interesting to Virginia at the end of this year is her newfound friendship with another successful English novelist, Vita Sackville-West, 30. The Woolfs have been spending lots of time with Vita and her husband, Sir Harold Nicolson, 36.

Sir Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West

Virginia writes in her diary,

The human soul, it seems to me, orients itself afresh every now and then. It is doing so now…No one can see it whole, therefore. The best of us catch a glimpse of a nose, a shoulder, something turning away, always in movement.”

*****

In France, American ex-pats Gertrude Stein, 48, and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, 45, are vacationing in St. Remy. They came for a month and have decided to stay for the duration of the winter.

Stein is pleased that her Geography and Plays has recently been published by Four Seas in Boston. This eclectic collection of stories, poems, plays and language experiments that she has written over the past decade comes with an encouraging introduction by one of her American friends, established novelist Sherwood Anderson, 46. He says that Gertrude’s work is among the most important being written today, and lives “among the little housekeeping words, the swaggering bullying street-corner words, the honest working, money-saving words.”

Geography and Plays by Gertrude Stein

The volume also contains her 1913 poem, “Sacred Emily,” which includes a phrase Stein repeats often,

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”

Alice is thinking of using that as part of the logo for Gertrude’s personal stationery.

Stein and Alice are hopeful that Geography and Plays will help her blossoming reputation as a serious writer. For now, they are going to send some fruit to one of their new American friends back in Paris, foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star, Ernest Hemingway, 23, and his lovely wife Hadley, 31.

*****

In America, free-lance writer Dorothy Parker, 29, has had a terrible year.

She did get her first short story published, “Such a Pretty Little Picture” in this month’s issue of Smart Set. After years of writing only the light verse that sells easily to New York’s magazines and newspapers, Parker is starting to branch out and stretch herself more.

However, her stockbroker husband of five years, Edwin Pond Parker II, also 29, finally packed up and moved back to his family in Connecticut.

Dorothy and Eddie Parker

Parker took up with a would-be playwright from Chicago, Charles MacArthur, 27, who started hanging around with her lunch friends from the Algonquin Hotel. He broke Dottie’s heart—and her spirit after he contributed only $30 to her abortion. And made himself scarce afterwards.

On Christmas day there were no fewer than eight new plays for Parker to review. She had to bundle up against the cold and spend the holiday racing around to see as much of each one as she could. And then go home to no one but her bird Onan (“because he spills his seed”) and her dog Woodrow Wilson.

New York Times Square Christmas Eve 1920s by J. A. Blackwell

As she gets ready to jump into 1923, Parker works on the type of short poem she has become known for:

One Perfect Rose

By Dorothy Parker

A single flow’r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet–
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
“My fragile leaves,” it said, “his heart enclose.”
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

To hear Dorothy Parker read her poem, “One Perfect Rose,” click here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMnv1XNpuwM

“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 as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Early next year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, and about The Literary 1920s in Paris and New York City at the Osher 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 Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald 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, February 8, 1922, 27 rue de Fleurus, Paris

The young newlyweds, about to knock on this door, are filled with nervous anticipation.

Toronto Star European correspondent and would-be novelist Ernest Hemingway, 22, and his new wife, Hadley, 30, moved to Paris in December. But they have waited until now to make use of one of the letters of introduction given to Ernie by his mentor, successful novelist Sherwood Anderson, 45, back home in Chicago.

27 rue de Fleurus

When the couple told him they were planning to move to Europe—where Ernest had served in an ambulance corps during the Great War—Sherwood convinced them to choose Paris. They should join the other ex-patriates here, taking advantage of the great exchange rate. And he gave them letters of introduction to the creative people he had met here last summer, none more important than the woman who lives at this address, Gertrude Stein, just turned 48.

Stein is already legendary for the salons she and her brother Leo, almost two years older, had hosted here before the War, with the most cutting-edge painters of the time. Gertrude has said that she wants to do with words on the page what those artists are doing with paint on the canvas.

Sherwood is a huge fan of hers, so Ernest is eager to meet this woman and learn more about writing from her. But he is a bit intimidated too.

*****

Gertrude is impressed with the young American writer she has just met. Very good-looking. Stein’s partner, fellow American Alice B. Toklas, 44, had taken Hadley to another room to chat, so Gertrude didn’t get to know much about her. But she did offer to teach Ernest how to cut his wife’s hair.

Stein is thinking she will take the Hemingways up on their offer to come round to their flat and read some of Ernest’s fiction. He seems to be a good listener. Someone Gertrude could easily influence.

Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein at home with their paintings

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Due to the horrible winter weather, we have postponed our celebration of the 148th birthday of my fellow Pittsburgher Gertrude Stein to Thursday, February 17, at 7 pm, at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill. You can register for this free event, or sign up to watch it via Zoom, here

At the end of the month I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses at the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

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, December 31, 1921/January 1, 1922, Ireland, England, France and America

At the end of the second year of the 1920s…

In Ireland, at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, still run by one of its founders, Lady Augusta Gregory, 69, the company is finishing up, with a matinee and evening performance today, the run of a double bill including A Pot of Broth by one of its other founders, Irish poet William Butler Yeats, 56. The Abbey has been performing this little one act about gullible peasants since it was written over 15 years ago.

Throughout the country, violent atrocities are committed by the Irish Republican Army and the British Black and Tans, while in Dublin, in a huge leap forward for Irish independence, the government of the Irish Free State is finally coming into being.

Newspaper headline, December 8

*****

In England, near Oxford, Yeats is encouraged by the news of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, giving Ireland, including 26 of the island’s 32 counties, Dominion status in the British Commonwealth. He writes to a friend that he expects the Irish parliament, the Dail, will ratify the treaty, but

I see no hope of escape from bitterness, and the extreme party may carry the country.”

With the establishment of the Irish Free State, Yeats and his wife Georgie, 29, are thinking of moving back to Dublin in the new year with their two children, Anne, 2 ½, and the recently christened Michael Butler Yeats, four months old.

In Sussex, Virginia, 39, and her husband Leonard Woolf, 41, have come to their country home, Monk’s House, for the holidays.

The Hogarth Press, the publishing company they have operated out of their home in the Richmond section of London for the past four years, is steadily growing. In total they published six titles this year, a 50% increase over last.

A book of woodcuts by a friend of theirs, Roger Fry, 55, that they brought out just a few months ago is going in to its third printing.

They have hired an assistant, Ralph Partridge, 27, who was at first helpful. Now he works in the basement, sleeps over during the week and has a bad habit of leaving the press and metal type dirty, which drives Leonard crazy. Partridge’s profit-sharing deal has increased from last year, but is only £125.

Before they came down here to ring in the new year, the Woolfs had a visit from their friend, one of their former best-selling writers, Katherine Mansfield, 33. They discussed excerpts from a new work, Ulysses, by Irish novelist James Joyce, 39, to be published in Paris in a few months. Mansfield agrees that it is disgusting, but she still found some scenes that she feels will one day be deemed important.

Katherine Mansfield

About three years ago, Virginia and Leonard were approached about publishing Ulysses, but they rejected it. They don’t regret their decision.

*****

In France, Paris has become home to over 6,000 Americans, enjoying being let out of the prison of Prohibition back home.

Writer Gertrude Stein, 47, who has lived here for almost 20 years, has been laid up recently after minor surgery. She is still writing, working on Didn’t Nelly & Lilly Love You, which includes references to her birthplace, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and that of her partner for the past 14 years, Alice B. Toklas, 44, Oakland, California, and how the two of them met in Paris.

The author at Gertrude Stein’s house in Allegheny, Pennsylvania

Because she recently visited the nearby studio of another American ex-pat, painter and photographer Man Ray, 31, who just moved here last summer, Gertrude works into the piece “a description of Mr. Man Ray.

*****

In America, New York free-lance writer Dorothy Parker, 28, is attending, as usual, the New Year’s Eve party hosted by two of her friends from lunches at the Algonquin Hotel—New York World columnist Heywood Broun, 33, and his wife, journalist Ruth Hale, 34. Their party is an annual event, but bigger than ever this year because it is being held in their newly purchased brownstone at 333 West 85th Street.

Parker notes that they are directly across the street from one of the buildings that she lived in with her father.

Building across the street from the Brouns’ brownstone

Dottie is here alone. Her friends don’t expect her husband, stockbroker and war veteran Eddie Pond Parker, 28, to be with her. They joke that she keeps him in a broom closet back home.

She’s enjoying talking to one of her other lunch buddies, top New York Tribune columnist Franklin Pierce Adams [always known as FPA], 40, who is professing his undying love for Parker. While sitting next to his wife and keeping an eye on a pretty young actress in a pink dress.

All the furniture except for some folding chairs has been removed to make room for the 200 guests and a huge vat of orange blossoms [equal parts gin and orange juice, with powdered sugar thrown in]. No food or music. Just illegal booze.

As the turn of the new year approaches, the guests join the hosts in one of their favorite traditions. Dottie and the others each stand on a chair.

At the stroke of midnight they jump off, into the unknown of 1922.

Thanks to Neil Weatherall, author of the play, The Passion of the Playboy Riots, for help in unravelling 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, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Early in the new year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses at the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

On February 3, 2022, we will be celebrating the 148th birthday of my fellow Pittsburgh native Gertrude Stein, at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill. To register for this free event, or to watch it via Zoom, go to Riverstone’s website.

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.

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

Have a Happy New Year! We will be chronicling what was happening in 1922 right here…

“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.