“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, September 18, 1921, en route from Taormina, Sicily, to Florence, Italy

Occupation:  Novelist. Height:  5’9”. Eyes:  Blue gray. Hair:  Light brown. Forehead:  Normal. Nose:  Short. Face:  Long. Complexion:  Pale. Chin:  Normal.

That’s how the British Foreign Office in London had described Nottingham native David Herbert Lawrence, just turned 36, on the passport they issued him two years ago.

Now he is traveling from his current home in Sicily to the British consulate in Florence to get a renewal. He and his wife Frieda, 42, are feeling as though it may be time to move on.

They have been living in a beautiful hilltop home, Fontana Vecchia, since last year. They had left England during the Great War, feeling as though Frieda’s German nationality and David’s supposedly “obscene” writings were not welcome.

Fontana Vecchia

After traveling around Europe, David had managed to finish his most recent novel, Aaron’s Rod, this past summer, although it won’t be published until next year. His UK publisher, after much waffling, had finally brought out his Women in Love this past summer, to many negative reviews.

Lawrence has a travel piece coming out next month in The Dial magazine, but he hasn’t been writing much. Except letters to his New York publisher:

I wish I could find a ship that would carry me round the world and land me somewhere in the West—New Mexico or California—and I could have a little house and two goats, somewhere away by myself.”

With only about £40 in their British bank account, where can he and Frieda go? Maybe somewhere on a tramp steamer.

Friends are moving to Ceylon to study Buddhism, but the Lawrences have turned down their offer to join them.

David is still waiting to hear from his American agent about the current balance in his accounts there. Maybe that’s the next option.

D. H. Lawrence passport photo

“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 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.

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, Mid-May, 1920, Ile St. Louis, Paris

Painter Duncan Grant, 35, is having a glass of wine in the most fabulous apartment, lent to him by posh friends for the past two months, at the tip of Ile St. Louis, looking out at Notre Dame.

What a great trip.

Two months ago he was home in London, with his partner, fellow painter Vanessa Bell, 41, listening to a reading of a memoir by her sister, novelist Virginia Woolf, 38.

The next night, he was in Paris dining with his former lover, economist John Maynard Keynes, 37, at legendary restaurant La Perouse, with its scandalous secret rooms.

La Perouse

La Perouse, 51 Quai des Grands Augustins

On the Tuesday he arrived he had written to Vanessa back in London, describing the flat as

full of Bonnards & Vuillards & exquisite views over the Seine with an old world French house servant called Jean. I have only seen it all by the light of the sunset…I do wish you could come before Friday night.”

Vanessa did come over and they had gone with Keynes to Rome for a month. Maynard had wisely determined that the lire would sink against the pound and advised them to spend. Which they did.

grant-and-keynes

Duncan Grant and Maynard Keynes

Rome was filled with tourists. Duncan wrote to his lover, Bunny Garnett, 28, who was staying in Duncan’s rooms back in Bloomsbury, that Rome

is packed with the Italian aristocrats who simply love living in hotels and leaving their estates to Bolsheviks in the country. Our hotel is cram full of contessas, marchesas, principessas, and duchesses. They don’t get up till lunch, at 1, have a siesta till about 4, eat ices and drink coffee till 5 when they take a drive on the Pincio, home to dinner at 9:30. Jazz till 2, even the old ladies received till 4 or 5 in the morning…1 can buy masses of arum lilies irises roses pansies and marigolds for a few francs on the steps of the Piazza di Spagna.”

Maynard, now quite the celebrity economist, had been invited to visit with American art historian Bernard Berenson, 54, at his Villa I Tatti outside Florence. He had insisted that Vanessa and Duncan come along.

Back in Paris, the month of May had started off with riots during the International Labor Day celebrations, and then strikes broke out all over the country—dock workers, coal miners, and, most inconvenient of all, railway workers.

Vanessa had written letters home about their fascinating dinners with

the Derains, Braque & Mme., and Satie—sat til 2 am outside Lipps talking in the end only to the Derains—all the others went. It was very hot & got delicious at that hour. Derain was perfectly charming & so was she. In fact the more I see of her the more I like her & the more I am overcome by her beauty. I think she’s one of the most astonishing people I’ve ever met & less terrifying than she was at first.”

Madame Derain in a White Shawl c.1919-20 by Andr? Derain 1880-1954

Mme. Derain in a White Shawl by Andre Derain

His traveling companions have all left, so today Duncan goes back to La Perouse for lunch, this time with the founder of Nouvelle Revue Française (The New French Review), Andre Gide, 50, and his lover of the past four years, photographer Marc Allegret, 19.

Now it is time for Duncan to go back home to London. One last glass of wine…

“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.

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

In 2020 I will be talking about writers’ salons before and after the Great War in Ireland, England, France and America in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning program.

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

 

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, April 19, 1920, Left Bank, Paris

Eleanor Beach, 56, is on her annual visit to see her daughters—she calls them her “chicks”—who live in Europe.

The youngest, Sylvia, 33, owns an English-language bookshop and lending library in Paris on the rue Dupuytren, Shakespeare and Co., which seems to be going well. It hasn’t even been open a year and she already has 103 subscribers to the lending library, most of whom are pretty active borrowers.

But Mom wants to help out. So she and her daughter go on a shopping spree and come back with some decent clothes, a kitchen table, and some more books for the shop.

Sylvia writes to her sister, Holly, 35, in Florence, Italy,

PLM [Poor Little Mother] is flourishing.”

Sylvia’s good friend, Adrienne Monnier, 27, who owns a French-language bookshop a few blocks away, La Maison des Amis des Livres (The House of the Friends of Books), has been a big help in Sylvia’s first year in business.

Adrienne Monnier and Sylvia Beach

Adrienne Monnier and Sylvia Beach

Shakespeare & Co. recently had good write-ups in the respected trade journal Publisher’s Weekly and other English-language publications distributed in France. As a result, Sylvia is having a hard time responding to all the letters she is receiving. Many American students write asking for jobs. Sylvia is feeling more like a secretary, rather than an entrepreneur.

“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 Osher Lifelong Learning program.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor 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.