“Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, Volume II—1921 is now available!

Would you like to find out now how 1921 ends?

You can!

Cover design by Lisa Thomson

You don’t have to wait for this blog to work its way through the year.

Just order “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, Volume II—1921, the second in the series collecting these blog postings about this amazing decade. The print version is available now on Amazon; the e-book will be available in a few weeks.

You’ve certainly put a lot of work into this. It is a panorama of the period…Look forward to reading your future work”—Richard, Hemingway fan

Following less than eight months after the publication of Volume I, this collection of more than 100 vignettes has the same easy to dip in and out of layout. Or you can read straight through from January 1st to the upcoming December 31st.

Interior pages of “Such Friends”

Spoiler alert:  It’s got a great ending [and two recipes]!

I have really been enjoying your book…Because of the way it’s set up with episodes corresponding to dates of the year, it’s a great one for reading a bit from on a daily basis.”—Emily, British writer fan

And what about your book-loving friends? You may know which early 20th century writers they love, but are you sure which works they have read or not read at gift-giving time? The series “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s is the perfect present because they sure haven’t read this! Give them the gift of great gossip about their favorite creative people.

The series “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s is based in part on my research for my Ph.D. in Communications from Dublin City University in Ireland. which focused on the legendary writers and artists who socialized in salons in the early years of the 20th century—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. For the blogs and books I have expanded the cast of characters to also include those who orbited around them such as T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Edna St. Vincent Millay and others.

My investigations into creative writers in the early 20th century began with Manager as Muse, a case study of Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ work with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, the topic of my MBA thesis at Duquesne University in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is also available on Amazon in print and e-book formats.

The “Such Friends” book series has been beautifully designed by Lisa Thomson [LisaT2@comcast.net] and produced on Amazon by Loral and Seth Pepoon of Selah Press [loralpepoon@gmail.com].

The cover art on Volume II is a painting by Virginia Woolf’s sister, painter Vanessa Bell, A Conversation.

A Conversation by Vanessa Bell, 1913-1916

If you are in Pittsburgh, and easily accessible by bus, I will hand deliver your personally signed copy!

Everyone is reading “Such Friends”!

I read it in chronological order and found the vignettes most interesting. A sort of behind the scenes look into the thoughts, character, and personalities of the writers and artists affiliated with the individual salons in the beginning of the decade. I do believe the 20s sparked a Renaissance of thought and ideas in the literary and artistic world. I must admit that there were a few of their associates that I was not familiar with which may merit further study.”—Robert, Wisconsin fan

For complimentary review copies of both volumes of “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and Ireland Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

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, mid-September, 1921, 1239 North Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois

Newlyweds Ernest, 22, and Hadley Hemingway, 29, have just returned to their cramped, gloomy, top floor walk-up apartment after a wonderful dinner with one of Ernest’s mentors, Sherwood Anderson, just turning 45.

1239 North Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois

Anderson represents the type of successful writer Ernie aspires to be. Two years ago Sherwood’s novel—really a collection of interwoven stories about one town, Winesburg, Ohio—was a big hit. Since then two short story collections have been big sellers as well. The most recent, The Triumph of the Egg:  A Book of Impressions from American Life in Tales and Poems, includes 15 stories and seven photos of clay sculptures by Anderson’s wife, Tennessee Mitchell, 47, illustrating some of the characters.

Anderson is regularly published in The Dial literary magazine, where Hemingway regularly has his poems rejected.

Sherwood and Tennessee have just returned from their first trip to Europe and are filled with stories of the interesting people—mostly Americans—whom they became friends with there.

Sherwood and Tennessee Anderson

Ernest and Hadley are planning a trip to Europe also. But they want to move there permanently.

Ernie is making $200 a month as editor of the house organ for the Cooperative Commonwealth Society. But he is growing more suspicious of the organization every day. In addition to writing the Co-Op Notes, Personal Mentions and Insurance Notes sections in the newsletter, he’s been including coverage of the allegations of fraud brought against them.

Hadley, on the other hand, has a bit of a trust fund. And with the recent death of an uncle she never cared much for anyway, she will soon have an income of almost $300 a month.

Ernie knows he can count on the Toronto Star to continue to pay him for free-lance pieces, and he wants to show Hadley the places he was in Italy during the Great War. Including where he was injured. They have even bought some lira—at a great exchange rate—in preparation for their trip.

But Sherwood has a different idea. Forget Italy, he tells the young couple. France is equally inexpensive and the most interesting writers and artists of the time are flocking there.

Sherwood promises Ernest he will write letters of introduction for him so he can meet Anderson’s new ex-pat American friends on the Left Bank. Sylvia Beach, 34, from Princeton, New Jersey, runs a terrific English-language bookshop. Even more important, the modernist writer Gertrude Stein, 47, from San Francisco [via Pittsburgh]. Sherwood has been a big fan of her work for years and was thrilled to have long discussions with her about writing. He is contributing the preface to a major anthology of her pieces from the past decade, Geography and Plays, in hopes of getting her a wider American audience.

Back here in their depressing apartment, the Hemingways are re-thinking their plans. Anderson has convinced them.

Let’s go to Paris!

“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 Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe, is 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, mid-August, 1921, Virginia Hotel, 78 Rush Street, Chicago, Illinois

Hadley Richardson, 29, visiting from St. Louis, feels that last night, at this posh hotel, for the first time, she “really got to know” her fiancé, free-lance journalist Ernest Hemingway, 22.

Virginia Hotel, Chicago, Illinois

Hadley and Ernest had only seen each other twice before they got engaged this spring. But they write lots of letters to each other. And her Ernesto writes great letters.

When she came to Chicago earlier this year to meet his parents, Hadley had to bring a chaperone. Now that they are engaged, she has booked herself into the Virginia Hotel.

Hadley’s sister, and quite a few of Ernest’s friends, don’t think this marriage is a good idea. But Hadley does. She has her own inheritance so doesn’t have to depend on her family’s good wishes.

Earlier this summer, she was trying to get Hemingway to tell her exactly how old he is and what exactly he did during the Great War. Hadley was putting together an announcement for their engagement party and told him to come up with

a magnificent lie about your age in case anyone is curious enough to inquire—also tell me what events I can brag of without being a perfect fool about you.”

Ernie says that he served in the Italian Army, and she is guessing that he turned at least 23 in July, when she gave him a typewriter for his birthday.

Ernest’s day job involves editing a house organ, but he is trying to sell enough of his free-lance work to support himself without that income. Earlier this year he had a piece published about the Dempsey-Carpentier fight, building on his knowledge of boxing, but his poetry is continually rejected. He has stopped sending poems to Poetry magazine, hoping he will fare better with The Dial. They often publish poems by his friend and mentor, successful novelist Sherwood Anderson, 44. But—no luck.

Despite Ernest’s evasiveness, and although he didn’t come to visit her in St. Louis as he promised last New Year’s Eve, Hadley is confident in his talent and is convinced that they are right for each other.

They were introduced at a party last fall by Ernest’s friend, advertising copywriter Y. Kenley Smith, 33, and Hadley’s friend, Smith’s sister Kate, 29. But Ernie hasn’t been getting on so well with Kenley these days. He and Hadley have decided that they are not going to move in with Smith and his wife after their wedding in a few weeks. And Kenley has been disinvited from the reception to be held at the Hemingway home in nearby Oak Park.

Hemingway family home, Oak Park, Illinois

“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 Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald 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, Spring, 1921, Chicago, Illinois

Would-be novelist Ernest Hemingway, 21, is feeling unsure about what direction he is going.

He has a job paying $40 a week editing the Co-Operative Commonwealth, a house organ supposedly devoted to spreading the word about the co-operative movement. But Ernie is starting to have doubts about the ethics of the publisher, the Co-Operative Society of America, as well as the trustees. He’s thinking he could do some investigative digging for the Chicago Tribune, even though that would probably cost him this job.

More encouraging is his growing relationship with Hadley Richardson, 29, the lovely redhead whom Hemingway met last year at a party.

Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson

They’ve been corresponding almost daily, and Ernie has told her about how he was injured in Italy during the Great War. He embellished the truth a bit. And lied about his age.

After Hemingway visited the Richardson family in St. Louis, Hadley came to Chicago for a few weeks. She and her chaperone stayed at the posh Plaza Hotel, and Ernie took her to meet his parents in nearby Oak Park. His Mom invited them to Sunday dinner—but they forgot to go! Hadley wrote the Hemingways a lovely apology, but Ernie didn’t bother to give it to them.

Lobby of Plaza Hotel, Chicago

Now that Hadley has gone home, he’s been spending his time working on the newsletter, submitting some free-lance pieces to the Toronto Star, doing lots of reading. And writing Hadley almost every day.

Hemingway is thinking that it might be time to leave this job. Even this country. And probably time to marry Hadley.

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

This summer I will be 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 Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, is also 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”: Today!

We interrupt our usual chronicling of what was happening in the literary 1920s for news of the official publication on Amazon of the book of these blogs, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, Volume I—1920, by your blog host, Kathleen Dixon Donnelly.

Cover design by Lisa Thomson

This volume chronicles in over 90 vignettes the events that affected the literary world 100 years ago. It is the first in a planned series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, which focuses on the legendary writers and artists who socialized in salons in the early years of the 20th century—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—and also includes those who orbited around them such as T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ezra Pound and others.

The series “Such Friends:  The Literary 1920s” is based in part on my research for my Ph.D. in Communications from Dublin City University in Ireland. My investigations into creative writers in the early 20th century began with Manager as Muse, a case study of Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ work with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, the topic of my MBA thesis at Duquesne University in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Cover design by Jean Boles

All vignettes in this first volume, covering 1920, originally appeared on this blog. The book is formatted so that you can dip in and out, follow favorite writers, or read straight through from January 1st to December 31st.

And 1920 is just the beginning. You’ve already been reading about what was going on in 1921. And we’ve got nine more years to go! It was quite a decade.

The book is available now in both print and e-book formats from Amazon. “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, Volume I—1920 was beautifully designed by Lisa Thomson [lisat2@comcast.net] and created on Amazon by Loral and Seth Pepoon of Selah Press [loralpepoon@gmail.com]. And they did a great job [I’m biased].

For complimentary review copies of “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, Volume I—1920, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I will be talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

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

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, January, 1921, 100 East Chicago Street, Chicago, Illinois

Would-be novelist Ernest Hemingway, 21, currently working as editor of a house organ, has been hanging out here at “the Domicile” with a friend, Y. Kenley Smith, 33, who works at the Critchfield Advertising Agency. Smith has brought around one of the other Critchfield copywriters, Sherwood Anderson, 44, to meet Ernest.

Sherwood Anderson

Hemingway likes Anderson, and he’s pleasantly surprised that the feeling is mutual. But his fiancee, Hadley Richardson, 29, whom he regularly writes to in St. Louis, isn’t surprised at all.

Of course he likes you!”

she said.

Anderson, a bit older and a lot more experienced as a writer, has had short stories published in national magazines and just had a big success last year with his fourth book, Winesburg, Ohio, a collection of related stories about the residents of one town.

The young writer feels that he’s been learning a lot from the older novelist. He has introduced him to magazines such as The Dial, American Mercury, Poetry, and is turning Ernie on to contemporary writers such as Floyd Dell, 33, Waldo Frank, 31, Van Wyck Brooks, 35. All real American writers. Through Sherwood, Ernest has even met the Chicago poet, Carl Sandburg, just turned 43, who won a special Pulitzer Prize two years ago.

Carl Sandburg

Anderson has advised Hemingway to set aside a room just for writing, as Sherwood has done. Ernest is learning how to become a writer.

Anderson is tired of writing ad copy for tractors and hopes to soon be able to make a living as a full-time fiction writer. This summer, a benefactor has offered to finance his first trip to Europe. Sherwood just has to find the money to bring along his wife, Tennessee, 46.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series of books, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, very soon to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. Early this year 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”: 100 Years Ago, December, 1920, 1230 North State Street, Chicago, Illinois

Ernest Hemingway, 21, is settling in to his new job as editor—and primary writer—of Cooperative Commonwealth, the house organ of the Cooperative Society of America.

Ernie isn’t quite sure how the Society operates, but “cooperative” sounds good enough to him. And he gets $40 a week.

Although the job gets heavy around deadline, the rest of the time he can make his own schedule. Most days Hemingway comes home here for lunch and gets a lot of the copy writing done for the 100-page issue in the afternoon.

Today at lunch he has received a picture card from the St. Louis woman he met at a party a few months ago, Hadley Richardson, 29, inscribed on the back,

Most awfully lovingly, Ernestonio from your Hash. December, 1920.”

Hadley Richardson picture card

Ernest and his roommates, who work in advertising, all have ambition to become more than just hired hacks. Among their role models are “real” writers who are still doing some advertising copy to keep afloat.

For example, Sherwood Anderson, 44, had a huge hit last year with his first novel, Winesburg, Ohio, which scandalized middle America—including Ernest’s parents—with its frank discussions of sex. Anderson hasbeen contributing to Cooperative Commonwealth, and still does some work for his former ad agency, Critchfield.

Ernie and his fellow writers buy copies of radical magazines like The Little Review at their local bookstores, and know that their current writing for hire is a necessary evil until some major publisher recognizes their true talents for writing fiction.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, soon to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@ gypsyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. Early next year I will be talking about Perkins, Hemingway and Fitzgerald in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

My “Such Friends” presentations, The Founding of the Abbey Theater 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”: 100 Years Ago, end of November, 1920, 1230 North State Street, Chicago, Illinois

On Sunday, the following ad appeared in the ”Wanted—Male Help” section of the Chicago Sunday Tribune:

ADVERTISING WRITER

EXPERIENCE NOT NECESSARY

Prominent Chicago advertising agency offers unusual opportunity to men capable of expressing themselves clearly and entertainingly in writing. A real opportunity to enter the advertising profession and be promoted as rapidly as ability warrants. State age, education, experience, if any, whether married or single, what you have been earning and, in fact, anything or everything which will give us a correct line on you. All communications considered strictly confidential. Address C122 Tribune.”

Front page of the Chicago Sunday Tribune, November 28, 1920

Ernest Hemingway, 21, composes this response:

No attempt will be made to write a trick letter in an effort to plunge you into such a paroxysm of laughter that you will weakly push over to me the position advertised in Sunday’s Tribune.

You would probably rather have what facts there are and judge the quality of the writing from published signed articles that I can bring you.

I am twenty-four years old, have been a reporter on the Kansas City Star and a feature writer for the Toronto Star, and the Toronto Sunday World.

Am chronically unmarried.

War records are a drug on the market of course but to explain my lack of a job during 1918—served with the Italian Army because of inability to pass the US physical exams. Was wounded July 8 on the Piave River—decorated twice and commissioned. Not that it makes any difference.

At present I am doing feature stuff at a cent and a half a word and they want five columns a week. Sunday stuff mostly.

I am very anxious to get out of the newspaper business and into the copy writing end of advertising. If you desire I can bring clippings of my work on the Toronto Star and Toronto Sunday World and you can judge the quality of the writing from them. I can also furnish whatever business and character references you wish.

Hoping that I have in a measure overcome your sales resistance—

very sincerely

1230 N. State Street

Chicago Illinois”

“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@gypsyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle. Early in 2021 I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs 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 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”: 100 Years Ago, October, 1920, 100 East Chicago Street, Chicago, Illinois

This’ll be another great party.

Free-lance journalist Ernest Hemingway, 21, and his roommate are headed to their friends’ apartment—which they call “The Domicile”—for one of their regular Sunday parties.

Chicago, 1920

Ernest has had a really good year. It began with him entertaining a local women’s group with stories of his experiences and injuries in the Great War [he embellished them just a little]. He was so impressive that a wealthy couple hired him to live in their Toronto, Canada, mansion as a companion to their disabled teenaged son.

The kid was a bore. But through connections, Ernie managed to get a position writing for the Toronto Star Weekly magazine. And after some unsigned pieces of his were published, he finally got a byline! In “Taking a Chance for a Free Shave” by Ernest M. Hemingway he told the tale of his trip to a local barber college.

Even when he went for his usual trout fishing trip up in Michigan this past spring, he was still able to have bylined pieces most weeks in both the Star and the Chicago Tribune. His parents weren’t happy that Ernest had no plans, and after a raucous beach party at the family lake cottage last summer—the neighbors complained—his mother had thrown him out, hand delivering to him a lengthy, nasty letter which said in part,

Stop trading your handsome face to fool little gullible girls and neglecting your duties to God and your Saviour…Do not come back until your tongue has learned not to insult and shame your mother.”

A bit harsh.

Ernest Hemingway and friends at the lake in Michigan

Soon after, Hemingway went out one night with his last $6 in his pocket to a high class, although illegal, gambling house in Charlevoix, Michigan, and walked out at 2 am with $59 from the roulette tables. That was enough to keep him going without having to ask his parents for money. Ernie packed up some of his things from home and moved here to Chicago with a friend from his days when he served in the Red Cross ambulance corps in Italy during the War.

Hemingway is getting by with free-lance work; although his journalism is selling better than the short stories he’s been submitting.

As he walks into the apartment of advertising guy Y Kenley Smith, 32, Ernest sees a tall, auburn-haired woman across the room.

After striking up a conversation with Hadley Richardson, 28 [he lies to her about his age], he learns that she lives in St. Louis, plays the piano, and is here for a few weeks visiting Kenley’s sister. She reminds him a bit of the nurse who took care of him when he was injured in Italy, who was also a bit older than he was. But, despite a year at Bryn Mawr College, and a trip to Paris, “Hash” as her friends call her, seems a bit younger than her age.

When he leaves the party, Ernest knows that he really wants to go back to live in Europe. And he knows that he is going to marry Hadley Richardson.

Hadley Richardson

“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@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I am talking about writers’ salons in Paris and New York after the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University.

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

My “Such Friends” presentations, the Founding of the Abbey Theatre and Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table are available to view 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.