“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, mid-November, 1922, Del Monte Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico

Enough was enough. English novelist David Herbert Lawrence, 37, and his German wife Frieda, 43, are definitely grateful to their hostess, American patron of the arts Mabel Dodge, 43, who invited them to come live here so David can write about the local area.

Del Monte Ranch

But after about two months, living next door to the formidable Mabel has proved too much. She monopolizes David’s time which angers Frieda.

And why has she partnered with this Native American, Tony Luhan, 43? Lawrence thinks Tony has just fallen for Mabel’s money.

So David and Frieda have found this ranch far enough up the mountain to be out of Mabel’s grasp, but close enough to be polite. A bit less comfortable physically, but worth it to have their freedom.

The owner of this compound supports artists as well—there are two young Danish painters living in another building—but in a more hands-off manner than Dodge.

David and Frieda are enjoying horseback riding in cowboy hats and boots, but in general find the area depressing.

David and Frieda Lawrence

Shortly after they arrived, Lawrence had written to his friend back in England, novelist E. M. Forster, 43,

Taos is a tiny place thirty miles from the railway high up—6,000 ft.—in the desert. I feel a great stranger, but have got used to that feeling, & prefer it to feeling ‘homely.’ After all, one is a stranger, nowhere so hopelessly as at home.”

“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.

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

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

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, mid-September, 1922, Monk’s House, Rodmell, East Sussex; and Garsington, Oxfordshire, England

Looking back, the weekend was a bit awkward.

Novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, and her husband Leonard, 41, hosted their last house guests for this summer.

Fellow novelist Edward Morgan Forster, 43, arrived on Friday evening, carrying only a fraying backpack for luggage and dressed in old clothes.

American ex-pat poet Thomas Stearns Eliot, about to turn 34, didn’t come until Saturday afternoon, after finishing his day job at Lloyds Bank in the morning. He was dressed a bit more formally.

E. M. Forster and T. S. Eliot at Monk’s House

Morgan kept to himself most of the weekend, writing in his room. Virginia realized that he does better when he is the only weekend guest, not having to mix too much with others he’s not comfortable around.

What was most interesting about the weekend was what was not talked about.

Eliot never mentioned the long poem he’s been working on, which he had read to the Woolfs a few months ago.  Although they did talk about a fund that fellow American ex-pat poet Ezra Pound, 36, living in France, is trying to set up for Eliot so he can leave his bank job. Eliot seems a bit embarrassed by the effort.

Virginia is also a bit envious of Morgan’s confidence over the novel he’s been working on.

He is happy in his novel, but does not want to discuss it,”

she writes in her diary.

And no one mentioned the recent coverage of an extensive report by the War Office Committee which, for two years, has been looking into “shell shock” in veterans from the Great War. It is causing quite a stir. One recommendation is that the medical term be changed to “war neurosis” as some who served never really heard shells.

On Sunday afternoon, after tea, Eliot leaves. The whole atmosphere changes. As Virginia records in her diary, she, Leonard and Morgan, “snuggled in & Morgan became very familiar; anecdotic; simple, gossiping about friends & humming his little tunes,”

*****

Meanwhile, one of Virginia’s Bloomsbury friends, biographer Lytton Strachey, 42, has written to her about a “not very stimulating” weekend he is having at Garsington, the country home of former Liberal MP Philip Morrell, 52, and his wife Ottoline, 49. Lytton describes his hostess to Virginia in less than flattering terms: 

Ottoline was dreadfully degringole [tumbling down in his opinion]…:  her bladder has now gone the way of her wits—a melancholy dribble; and then, as she sits after dinner in the lamplight, her cheek pouches drooping with peppermints, a cigarette between her false teeth, and vast spectacles on her painted nose, the effect produced is extremely agitating. I found I want to howl like an Irish wolf—but perhaps the result produced in you was different.”

Lady Ottoline Morrell

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I through III, covering 1920 through 1922 are available at Thoor Ballylee in Co. Galway, and as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA. They are also on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Later in the year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

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

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

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, June 19, 1922, Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London

The party seems to be going well.

Art critic Clive Bell, 40, is hosting the dinner party following this evening’s meeting of The Memoir Club.

Gordon Square

The Club was started a couple of years ago by about a dozen friends, family and lovers who live in and around the Bloomsbury section of London. Kept totally private, the main purpose of the organization is to get its members thinking about writing their own autobiographies. And because those who read out papers at the get-togethers are bound by the rules to be as candid as possible, The Memoir Club provides delightful entertainment as well.

Tonight’s presenters include Lytton Strachey, 42, whose biography of Queen Victoria was a big hit last year, and novelist Edward Morgan Forster, 43, recently returned from another trip to India.

Forster is in particularly good form tonight. By happy accident he has become the main topic of conversation in the letters page of the London Times.

At the beginning of the month, the Times’ review of Da Silva’s Widow and Other Stories by “Lucas Malet”—in reality Mary St. Leger Kinsley, 70—compared the book to Forster’s 1911 collection of six short stories, The Celestial Omnibus. Truth be told, Forster’s hadn’t sold well.

“Lucas Malet”

But the mention in the Times set off a volley of letters of praise for Forster’s writing, almost every day for two weeks, headlined “Mr. E. M. Forster’s Books.” This culminated in a letter from Kingsley herself who claimed she had never heard of him.

Well. She sure has heard of him now. The publisher of Celestial Omnibus wrote in offering a free copy of Forster’s book to anyone who made the same claim. A previous publisher got in touch, inquiring if Morgan was working on another novel. And sales soared.

The Celestial Omnibus

Reveling in his newfound fame, Morgan is feeling confident sharing pieces of his memoir and chatting with his Bloomsbury friends.

At the dinner, most of the discussion however is about a new long poem by another friend of theirs, the American ex-patriate Thomas Stearns Eliot, 33, which he calls The Waste Land. Eliot has been reading it out to friends over the past few months, and writer Mary Hutchinson, 33, Clive’s current mistress, calls it “Tom’s autobiography—a melancholy one.”

Mary Hutchinson and Clive Bell

Clive’s sister-in-law, novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, agrees with Mary’s opinion of the poem, but Virginia has been jealous of Hutchinson in the past. Tonight Mary is being quite kind. Virginia records in her diary later that Mary “crossed the room & purred in my ear.”

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

This month I am talking about the Stein family salons in Paris before and after The Great War at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Carnegie-Mellon University.

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

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

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

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, April through May, 1922, Hogarth House, Richmond; Tidmarsh, Berkshire; and Garsington, Oxfordshire

April.  Novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, writes to her friend, Lady Ottoline Morrell, 48, to arrange a visit to the Morrell’s country home, Garsington. Virginia suggests the last weekend in May, writing,

It’s such an age since I was at Garsington, and it never seems to me a house on the ground like other houses, but a caravan, a floating palace.”

Garsington

April.  Ottoline writes to their mutual friend, novelist Edward Morgan Forster, 43, just back from India, inviting him to Garsington for the last weekend in May, telling him that Virginia as well as American ex-pat poet Thomas Stearns Eliot, 33, are invited for that weekend also.

Mid-May.  Forster responds to Ottoline’s invitation, saying that he can’t come that weekend because he will be visiting their mutual friend, writer Lytton Strachey, 42, in Tidmarsh, Berkshire, where Lytton is renting a house owned by economist John Maynard Keynes, 38. Forster apologizes to Ottoline, explaining,

My future is as an uncharted sea, except where it is crossed by Lytton’s system of soundings.”

(Morgan has been reading a lot of Proust lately.)

Mid-May.  Virginia writes to Ottoline canceling her Garsington visit for the last weekend in May. She’s had three teeth pulled and can’t shake off the flu. Maybe late June or early July?

Saturday, May 27. Forster is enjoying his weekend in Tidmarsh, chatting with Lytton and others. The surprise guests are Virginia and her husband Leonard, 41. Weren’t they supposed to be at Garsington this weekend?

Ottoline sends a wire to Morgan and Lytton imploring them both to come to her garden party, about an hour away, which will go on all day. She wants them to visit with Tom Eliot. Carrying the Woolfs’ secret with them, Morgan and Lytton set off.

E. M. Forster at Garsington

At Garsington, the party is in full swing. Everyone is swimming in the pond and Ottoline is holding court, dressed in a picture hat and bright yellow satin top.

Forster always enjoys the gossip at these get-togethers but feels that a lot of the chatter when he’s not in the room is about him.

Ottoline Morrell, standing, with her guests at Garsington

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

In June I will be talking about the Stein family salons in Paris before and after The Great War at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Carnegie-Mellon University.

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

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

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, May 6, 1922, Hogarth House, Richmond, London

Facing serious dental work, including three extractions, and her inability to fight off this influenza that has had her in and out of bed for the past few months, the spring of novelist Virginia Woolf’s 40th year is not going well.

Today, she and her husband Leonard, 41, were able to go for a walk. Hoorah! But then her temperature went up over 101 degrees, and they had to call the doctor.

The one bright spot is that, confined to bed, again, she now has time to delve back into the writing of Marcel Proust, 50.

Swann’s Way

She’d been introduced to his work during the Great War by her Bloomsbury friend, art critic Roger Fry, 55, whom she’s writing to today. She tells Roger that, although she has the

most violent cold in the whole parish,…Proust’s fat volume comes in very handy…to sink myself in it all day…Proust so titillates my own desire for expression that I can hardly set out the sentence. Oh if I could write like that! I cry. And at the moment such is the astonishing vibration and saturation and intensification that he procures—theres [sic] something sexual in it—that I feel I can write like that, and seize my pen and then I can’t write like that. Scarcely anyone so stimulates the nerves of language in me:  It becomes an obsession.”

At the beginning of the year she had first taken up Swann’s Way, and written to her fellow novelist E. M. Forster, 43, then in India,

Everyone is reading Proust. I sit silent and hear their reports. It seems to be a tremendous experience, but I’m shivering on the brink, and waiting to be submerged with a horrid sort of notion that I shall go down and down and down and perhaps never come up again.”

Forster was so impressed by Virginia’s reaction that he bought a copy of Swann’s Way on board the ship back home to England. He has found that Proust’s technique of revealing character through inner thoughts is influencing the Indian novel he is finally getting around to finishing.

Reading Proust is also helping Woolf with her work, a long short story, “Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street.” And it is keeping her from what she feels she is supposed to be reading, that vile tome, Ulysses by James Joyce, also 40.

Virginia is thinking that she also needs to write to her friend Ottoline Morrell, 48, to cancel her planned visit to the Morrells’ country pile, Garsington, at the end of the month. June or July might be better. This flu is just not going away.

Garsington

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

In June I will be talking about the Stein family salons in Paris before and after The Great War at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Carnegie-Mellon University.

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

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

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, January 13, 1922, Bombay, India

Edward Morgan Forster, 43, can’t wait to get on that ship tomorrow to begin his long journey home to England. Not because he is so looking forward to going back to living with his mother, Lily, 66, and his cat back in Weybridge, but because he can’t wait to get out of here.

Last year Morgan accepted the bizarre job as personal assistant to his old friend Sir Tukoji Rao IV, 34, the Maharajah of Dewas state—always known as “HH”—in a spirit of adventure. Not only would he be away from Weybridge, but also he could finally finish his India novel, which he started before the Great War.

Sir Tukoji Rao IV

Well, Dewas, where he has been living for the past year, sure wasn’t Weybridge. But he hasn’t written anything except journals; he has published no new novels for a decade.

Every New Year’s Eve—the day before his January 1st birthday—Morgan has made it a habit to write in his diary, summing up the previous year. This past New Year’s he wrote,

India not yet a success, dare not look at my unfinished novel…how unsuitable were my wanderings at Dewas, where everyone laughed at my incompetence …My desire for self-expression has slackened along every line…Slowness and apathy increase…I can’t go on any more here.”

In a letter home, Forster describes to his Mum the celebrations his friends arranged in Hyderabad for his birthday, filling his rooms with flowers.

It was roses all the way,”

he writes to her, always giving her the impression that he is happy here.

Morgan’s plans for his journey home included a visit to the Ajanta caves, which he’d always wanted to see. Then he fell and hurt his wrist and elbow so badly he couldn’t even feed himself, let alone go hiking through caves. Another disappointment in India.

From Hyderabad to Bombay is 435 miles, and now he is more than ready to set sail on the RMS Kaisar-i-Hind tomorrow. Rather than plan the shorter but more expensive trip back on land through Europe, he is going by sea to Port Said, Egypt, and then on to London. With the money he saves, Forster will spend a full month in Egypt. He explains to Lily that when he gets to Egypt he will be “nearer Mummy.”

But his real incentive is that, in Port Said, he will spend the month with his lover Mohammed el Adl, 22. The last time they saw each other was for four stolen hours on a beach when Forster was on his way to India last spring. Now they will have much more time together.

Mohammed el-Adl

“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.

On February 3, 2022, we will be celebrating the 148th birthday of my fellow Pittsburgher Gertrude Stein, at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill. You can register for this free event, or sign up to watch it via Zoom, here

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.

At the end of February I am talking about the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses at 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.