“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, September 30, 1921, Berkshire, England

Poet, playwright and new dad William Butler Yeats, 56, is writing to his friend in New York City, art collector John Quinn, 51. Yeats and his wife, Georgie, 28, have just returned from taking their baby son, Michael Butler, one month old, to Dublin for an operation. All went well, however, Michael might need more surgery, in London, next month.

But the Yeatses arrived home to find out that, once again, his father, painter John Butler Yeats, 82, has cancelled his booking to sail back home to his family in Ireland. This time he blamed it on some recent sickness.

W. B. Yeats by J. B. Yeats

Both Willie and Quinn have virtually ordered JB to come home. Quinn is resenting taking care of the older man, and Yeats has told his father point blank that, with his growing family, he can no longer afford to his support Dad’s American lifestyle.

Quinn has booked JB, once again, to sail in November and has put down a deposit.

“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.

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, August 25, 1921, Thame, Oxfordshire, England

It’s a boy!

Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 56, and his wife Georgie, 28, are over the moon about the birth of their second child, Michael Butler Yeats, now three days old.

W. B. and Georgie Yeats

Willie had cabled his father, painter John Butler Yeats, 82, and their friend, Irish-American lawyer John Quinn, 51, both in New York City, as soon as he knew Michael and Georgie were okay. He doesn’t mention the baby’s name because he knows his Dad will be disappointed that the newest Yeats isn’t named for him.

Today he is writing to Quinn that his son is “better looking than a newborn canary.” And that he thinks his daughter, Anne, 2, is flirting with him.

Before Michael’s birth, Georgie’s doctor had warned Willie that not all babies are as well behaved as their first, Anne. But the new Dad is so thrilled that it’s a boy, he is not worried about any future behavior problems. He’s just glad everyone is healthy.

Downstairs in their big house, Georgie is ushering in an “electrician”—actually a doctor. She has sworn the staff to secrecy about Michael’s illness so Willie won’t worry. She hopes he doesn’t notice the maid who is crying.

Spoiler alert:  Michael overcame his illness and lived to a ripe old age. I met him in 2004.

“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 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.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, 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, April, 1921, Stillingford, Berkshire, England

Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 55, is thrilled to find out that Iseult Gonne Stuart, 26, whom he thinks of as a daughter, has had her first child.

Iseult Gonne Stuart

To be honest, Yeats has been in love with Iseult’s mother, Irish independence activist, Maud Gonne, 54, his whole life. Many times during their stormy relationship he proposed marriage and she always turned him down. A few years ago, she even suggested that he propose to Iseult instead. And she turned him down.

Willie is now happily married to Georgie Hyde-Lees Yeats, 29. They have a daughter, Anne, 2, and are expecting another child in August. Willie really wants a boy.

Yeats has done Iseult the favor of creating a horoscope for her new daughter. He writes to her suggesting that perhaps her Dolores will grow up to marry his expected son! He adds,

By that time I shall be very old and stern & with my authority to support yours, she will do in that matter what she is told to do.”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the sries, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I, covering 1920, is available now in both print and e-book formats 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.

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, March 13, 1921, Shillingford, Berkshire, England

Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 55, is writing to his friend and fellow founder of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, Lady Augusta Gregory, about to turn 69, back in her home in Coole Park in the west of Ireland.

Yeats wants to explain to her why he and his pregnant wife, Georgie, 29, and their two-year-old daughter Anne, have moved from the place they had rented in Oxford to this cottage in Berkshire.

Shillingford Bridge, Berkshire

Mainly, to save money. Not only is there a baby on the way [Yeats is hoping for a boy], but Willie is still sending money to New York to support his father, painter John Butler Yeats, almost 82. Thankfully, Dad is being watched over by their friend, Irish-American lawyer and art collector, John Quinn, 50. Quinn often buys some of Willie’s manuscripts, giving the money to JB to keep him going.

But Yeats and his sisters are pressuring Dad to move back home. To no avail.

The Yeatses also considered moving back to Ireland. But their tower in the west of the country, Thoor Ballylee, has been terribly flooded by the recent rains. And living there, near Galway, is too dangerous now with the Civil War raging.

So Willie and Georgie found this cottage in Shillingford, about ten miles south of Oxford, which will reduce their expenses. And it is within walking distance of the town’s Catholic Church. Of course, the Yeatses are Protestants. But the proximity makes it more convenient for their maids.

“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 formats on Amazon.

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.

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-January, 1921, Dundrum, Dublin; and Oxford, England

Lolly Yeats, 52, owner and business manager of Cuala Press, run out of her home in Dundrum, was intrigued by some things she observed on a recent visit to the Oxford home of her brother, Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 55, his wife, Georgie, 29, and their daughter, one-year-old Anne.

Lolly Yeats by her father, John Butler Yeats

She knows Willie is proud of his English home, so she didn’t say anything. But all of their plates are a dark color, with no pattern. And, odder still, because the couple doesn’t own or like silverplate, their cutlery is made out of horn?!

Lolly had written to her father, painter John Butler Yeats, 81, living in New York City, asking if he ever had to drink soup from a flat spoon?! Or use a fork with only a couple of prongs to eat a piece of meat?!

However, she did appreciate her sister-in-law’s attempts to brighten up their place with brightly colored cushions, and the nice touch of putting both note cards and stamps in each guest’s room.

The Yeatses seem to be doing well, having just returned from a successful lecture tour of the States last year. But Lolly feels that the check she will be sending Willie for his royalties from his Cuala Press publications—which should be almost £500—will be greatly appreciated.

*****

In the Yeatses home in Oxford, Georgie is looking forward to their upcoming trip around the south of England, including revisiting Stone Cottage in Sussex where they spent their honeymoon almost four years ago. But recently she has been feeling sick in the mornings, and thinks she had better tell Willie that she might be pregnant again. She knows he has been hoping for a boy.

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

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.

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. Early this year I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, November, 1920, The Dial, Chicago, Illinois, and The Nation, London, England

Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 55, is pleased that this month his poem, “The Second Coming,” is appearing in both the American magazine, The Dial, as well as The Nation in England.

Yeats wrote the poem back in January of last year, just a few months after the end of The Great War, during a frightening personal time for him. His young pregnant wife, Georgie, now 28, was hit hard by the Spanish influenza. Thankfully, she recovered and gave birth to their beautiful daughter, Anne, the following month.

Typescript of “The Second Coming”

The Second Coming

By W B Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight:  somewhere in sands of the desert

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

To hear a reading of “The Second Coming” click here.

To read Scott Simon’s comments on Yeats’ poem on NPR’s Weekend Edition, click here.

“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.

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.

This fall I am talking about writers’ salons in Paris and New York after the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at 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 available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher program at Carnegie-Mellon University early next year.

“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, October, 1920, No. 15 Ely Place, Dublin, Ireland

Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 55, is recovering from a hemorrhage in the consulting rooms of his long-time friend, Dr. Oliver St. John Gogarty, 42, who has just removed his tonsils.

No. 15 Ely Place

Yeats and his wife, Georgie, 28, have been living in Oxford, England, since returning from his long American lecture tour. When Willie’s tonsils first flared up, he had tried to go to London to see a specialist. But he got lost.

After Georgie checked with her star charts, they decided the wasted trip to London was a bad omen. So they both came over here to Dublin to have Gogarty take care of him.

Dr. Oliver St. John Gogarty by William Orpen

All that Yeats remembers at this point is Gogarty putting him under with ether, yapping away about literature. And when he awoke, bleeding, the good doctor took up his monologue exactly where he had broken off.

By this point, lying in recovery, Yeats is feeling that his own end might be near, and starts to compose his dying speech. He is also thinking of tweaking his bedclothes to give the nurses a thrill.

“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.

My “Such Friends” presentations, The Founding of the Abbey Theater and Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table are available to view on the website of PICT Classic Theatre.

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

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. In 2021 I will be talking about Perkins in 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.

“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, May 22, 1920, on board the S. S. Megantic, Montreal, Canada

Irish poet William Butler Yeats, 54, and his wife, Georgie, 28, are just about to embark on their voyage back to Liverpool on the S. S. Megantic, part of the White Star Line.

What a great trip it has been.

Postcard of the S. S. Megantic

This was Yeats’ third American lecture tour, but the first with his wife. They had seen a lot of the big country. But most importantly, in New York City, they had had time to spend with his father, painter John Butler Yeats, 81.

Before boarding the ship, Yeats had sent back to their friend in New York, lawyer and art collector, John Quinn, 50, the key to his Central Park West apartment. He thanked Quinn for being such a gracious host, and for

never intrud[ing] irrelevancies…[providing] less argument and more sympathy and understanding [than any other Americans].”

Being away from home had made Yeats feel more strongly than ever about the future of his newly independent country. He and Georgie will spend some time visiting friends in and around London, but then they are eager to go home to Dublin.

“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 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.

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, May, 1920, Algonquin Hotel, 59 West 44th Street, Midtown Manhattan

Poet William Butler Yeats, 54, and his wife Georgie, 28, are settling into New York City. They have spent this whole year so far on Willie’s third American lecture tour. It’s been a big success, but they’re exhausted.

Their dear friend, Irish-American lawyer and supporter of the arts, John Quinn, just turned 50, really wants them to stay with him in his spacious Central Park West penthouse apartment. They will—but they decided that a few days at the Algonquin Hotel will be more restful.

They are only planning to be in New York for a couple of weeks before they head for Montreal to board the Mejantic back to England. Quinn has arranged all their tickets and transportation.

Alg lobby 2

Algonquin Hotel lobby

Someone has offered to record Yeats for

a new kind of moving picture—a picture that talks as well as moves,”

as he describes it.

Quinn says they might have the opportunity to meet an Irish politician also touring America. Eamon de Valera, 37, current self-proclaimed President of Dáil Éireann, the Parliament of the newly proclaimed Irish Republic, has asked to meet his country’s most famous poet. And Yeats is curious—is this former Irish rebel just all propaganda? Or is there a real human in there?

Éamon_de_Valera

Eamon de Valera

Mostly, they plan to spend more time with Willie’s father, painter John Butler Yeats, 81, whom Quinn has been keeping an eye on, ever since he moved from Dublin to Manhattan 13 years ago. He was supposed to stay just a few weeks!

The Yeats family had implored their father to come home to Ireland. But J B had written to Yeats that, as an American had pointed out,

In Dublin it is hopeless insolvency. Here it is hopeful insolvency.”

And so he stayed.

“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 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.

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, April 29, 1920, 31 Nassau Street, New York City, New York

Irish-American lawyer, John Quinn, 49, is in his office sorting out financial arrangements for his friend, Irish poet William Butler Yeats, 54, finishing off his lecture tour of America, accompanied by his wife, Georgie, 28.

The company that arranged Yeats’ tour, the Pond Lyceum Bureau, is on the verge of bankruptcy. On Quinn’s recommendation, Yeats insisted that his speaking fees be sent to Quinn to hold in trust. Pond was not happy about going through Quinn, who cabled Yeats last week:

POND WRITES CONSIDERS YOU GREAT FRIEND AND THAT MY PRESSING HIM YOUR SHARE PROCEEDS DOES NOT IMPROVE THAT FRIENDSHIP (STOP) RUBBISH (STOP)”

Conplaint letter to Pond Lyceum Bureau

A previous complaint against the Pond Lyceum Bureau, from publisher Alfred A. Knopf

Today Quinn is writing to Yeats in Sherman, Texas, about the arrangements for his ocean voyage back to Ireland later next month. The Yeats will spend some weeks in New York City first, and are booked in to the Algonquin Hotel. Quinn writes,

I am sorry that you and your wife are not coming directly to my apartment. I had assumed you would both come there but perhaps you will both come in a few days. I won’t be in your way or either of you in my way and ‘twill be very pleasant for me and I think pleasant for both of you…I enclose you an account of the moneys that I have received from Pond, with the dates. Sincerely yours’ [signed John Quinn]

“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 in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the University of Pittsburgh 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.