“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, October 11, 1922, Librairie Six, 5 Avenue de Lowendal; Hotel Verneuil, rue de Verneuil, Paris; and 74 Gloucester Place, Marylebone, London

Sitting in the backroom of Librairie Six, his friend’s bookstore and art gallery, English poet and publisher John Rodker, 27, is pretty sure he has everything organized for the big day tomorrow.

John Rodker surrounded by publishing friends

In a little more than a month he has managed to pull together the publication of a second edition of the scandalous novel Ulysses by Irish-expat in Paris James Joyce, 40, the day before the copies arrive from the Dijon-based printer Darantiere.

Back in England, Rodker had been approached by one of Joyce’s many benefactors, Harriet Shaw Weaver, 46, publisher of Joyce through her Egoist Press and Egoist magazine.

Weaver has bought the British rights to all Joyce’s work, and she is eager to publish a second edition to follow up the debut of Ulysses this past February, published by the Left Bank bookshop Shakespeare and Company, owned by American ex-pat Sylvia Beach, 35.

Ulysses has been banned in America and confiscated in the UK, so Harriet has determined that the best approach is to have all the production, promotion and administrative work done in Paris, and then ship the books out to other, less tolerant, countries.

Rodker is a good choice for this assignment as he has already founded Ovid Press to publish limited editions, and, as a Conscientious Objector during the Great War, is willing to take risks for his principles.

Joyce, Beach and Weaver look at this second edition as an opportunity to correct the more than 200 typographical errors they’ve found in Shakespeare and Company’s 700-page original. However, rumors are circulating that pirates in the States are hurrying to bring out unauthorized editions. Weaver knows she has to work faster than originally planned. So—no corrections.

From this backroom office Rodker has mailed out flyers trumpeting the publication and then processed the orders. The plan he and Weaver concocted to service the UK customers involves him sending a bulk shipment to a collaborative wholesaler in London who will unbind them, pull them apart, shove sections inside British newspapers to avoid confiscation and tariffs, and then send them to the States via a merchant ship with a first mate who has agreed to serve as their smuggler. The American wholesalers will put each clandestine copy back together and deliver it to middlemen and booksellers.

Weaver will finance the whole operation, including £200 for Rodker’s services.

Rodker’s next step is to receive the shipment of 2,000 copies—complete with typos—from Darantiere tomorrow.

Ulysses, published by the Egoist Press

*****

About a half hour’s walk across the Left Bank, in the basement of the Hotel Verneuil, Rodker’s partner in crime, critic Iris Barry, 27 (actually Sylvia Crump from Birmingham, UK), has set up shop to handle the fulfillment function for individual orders.

Iris Barry

In this small room she has gathered rolls of brown parcel paper, piles of mailing labels, scissors and string. When the books arrive tomorrow, she will wrap and tie up each one individually, write out the address of the brave person in America who has ordered it, and then take Ulysses to the nearby post office in groups of four or five and send them off with a prayer that each will be delivered to its buyer before U. S. Customs starts confiscating them.

*****

In London, Miss Weaver has decided to handle the delivery to local individuals and bookstores herself. Those copies will be sent by Rodker to a private mailing firm. When the Egoist Press receives an order from a bookshop, Harriet plans to pick up the copies from the mailing company and take them—discreetly—to the store which placed the order. There they will keep Ulysses behind the counter until a special customer requests a copy.

Gloucester Place, Marylebone

Although Weaver’s lawyers have advised against it, she is going to keep some copies of Ulysses in her office and her home. Her wealthy family has always supported Harriet’s work for liberal causes but cannot imagine why she is interested in publishing smut. Her brother-in-law laments,

How could she? How could she? An enigma! An enigma!”

“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 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, February 2, 1922, Gare de Lyon, Place Louis-Armand, Paris; and 13 Nassau Street, New York City, New York

Standing on the platform at the Gare de Lyon, American ex-pat Sylvia Beach, 34, is waiting for the Paris-Dijon Express, due in at 7 am.

Gare de Lyon

The first copies of the novel Ulysses, by Irish ex-pat James Joyce, 40 today, will arrive from Darantiere, the printer in Dijon. Sylvia’s little Left Bank bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, has taken on the responsibility of publishing the controversial book when no one else would.

When Beach told Joyce that Darantiere guaranteed to mail the parcel on 1st February, Joyce was not pleased. He insisted that the package be put on the train so the conductor can hand deliver the two copies to Sylvia personally.

As the train approaches, Beach is working out the next steps in her head. She will get a taxi to Joyce’s apartment at 9 rue de l’Universite to give him the 40th birthday present that he wants most, the first copy of Ulysses.

Then she will continue on to her shop, at 12 rue de l’Odeon, about 20 minutes away, to put the second copy on display in the window. Word has been circulating around the Left Bank that the book will soon be available, and those who subscribed in advance are eager to get their copies.

Tonight Joyce has planned a small party at one of his favorite restaurants, Ferraris, to celebrate his accomplishment, eight years in the making. He and his partner, and the mother of his children, Nora Barnacle, 37, have invited just a few friends. One of Joyce’s most loyal supporters and drinking buddies, American writer Robert McAlmon, 26, left town for the Riviera just yesterday. Didn’t even leave behind a birthday present.

Sylvia Beach and James Joyce

*****

The next day, Joyce cables one of his main benefactors, Irish-American attorney, John Quinn, 51, at his Manhattan law office:

Ulysses published. Thanks.”

Quinn, meanwhile, cables to his friend, Irish playwright William Butler Yeats, 56:

Regret your father [painter JB Yeats, 82] passed away this morning, 7 o’clock…The end came in sleep without pain or struggle.”

The author and her Irishman, Tony Dixon

“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.

My talk about my fellow Pittsburgher, Gertrude Stein, at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill tomorrow has been postponed due to the weather gods sending “extra ice on Thursday” in the middle of a snowstorm. The new date will be posted on this blog and you can register your interest in coming here.

At the end of February 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, on Zoom, no matter what the weather is like.

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.

“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, September 22, 1921, Shakespeare and Company, 12 rue de l’Odeon, Paris

Which is worse? Financial problems or visiting family members?

That’s what is confronting ex-pat bookstore owner Sylvia Beach, 34, who is writing to her sister, Holly Beach Dennis, 37, in Italy to ask for money.

Shakespeare and Company, 12 rue de l’Odeon

Sylvia and her partner, Adrienne Monnier, 29, who owns a French-language bookstore across the street, have just returned from a lovely holiday in Hyeres on the southeastern coast of France.

Now that they are back home Sylvia has to face her mother, here on her annual visit, joined by Mom’s brother and his son.

In addition, the bill for renovations Sylvia had to have done to move her shop, Shakespeare and Company, to this new—much improved—location has come due. A total of 2,120 francs, including printing the announcement of the relocation.

But the bill that worries Sylvia the most is the one from the printer, Darantiere, in Dijon. He needs 1,000 francs for the work he has done setting type for Ulysses, the controversial novel by Irish ex-pat James Joyce, 39, which Sylvia has offered to publish. Darantiere has agreed to be paid in instalments, and Sylvia has solicited quite a few pre-orders from around the world. But not enough subscribers have sent checks yet to cover the growing expenses.

Letter from Darantiere

Reluctantly, Sylvia writes to Holly:

I’m asking you to lend me a thousand francs!!! My carpentry bill will be handed in any day now and mother who was going to lend me all the money for my moving expenses had to stop off in the midst, having had a great deal of expense getting [their sister] Cyprian equipped as a rising film star…My business is going well [but I] have to put every single centime aside to pay the printer.”

The plan is still to bring out Ulysses this fall, but Sylvia is dubious.

“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.

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 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.