“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, January 27, 1923, Toronto Daily Star, Toronto, Ontario; and Munich, Germany

The article, “Europe’s Prize Bluffer”appears in the Daily Star, the third piece about Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, 39, written by the Star’s foreign correspondent, American Ernest Hemingway, 23. After describing some of the other world leaders he has observed at the Lausanne Peace Conference in Switzerland, Hemingway reports,

Benito Mussolini

Mussolini is the biggest bluff in Europe. If Mussolini would have me taken out and shot tomorrow morning, I would still regard him as a bluff. The shooting would be a bluff. Get hold of a good photograph of Signor Mussolini some time and study it. You will see the weakness in his mouth which forces him to scowl the famous Mussolini scowl that is imitated by every 19-year-old Fascisto in Italy…Study his genius for clothing small ideas in big words…And then look at his black shirt and his white spats. There is something wrong, even histrionically, with a man who wears white spats with a black shirt.”

Hemingway describes the beginning of the press conference Mussolini held, where he was

registering Dictator. Being an ex-newspaperman himself he knew how many readers would be reached by the accounts the men in the room would write of the interview he was about to give. And he remained [seated], absorbed in his book…I tiptoed over behind him to see what the book was he was reading with such avid interest. It was a French-English dictionary—held upside down.”


In Munich, 6,000 members of the National Socialist German Workers Party attend their first party conference, presided over by their leader, Adolf Hitler, 33.

Adolf Hitler

“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.

Next month I will be talking about the literary 1920s in Paris and New York City in the Osher 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.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.