“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, early January, 46 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London

Parties given by the friends who live in the Bloomsbury section of London are always great. And this one is no exception.

46 Gordon Square

The host, economist John Maynard Keynes, 39, is mostly occupied by his work in Cambridge and the City of London, traveling to Germany to advise the government there, taking over the failing Liberal magazine The Nation and Athenaeum and working out the economic theory for his next book, A Tract on Monetary Reform.

So it’s time to throw a party! Let’s celebrate “Twelfth Night,” the traditional end to the Christmas season.

Over in the corner English novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, who used to live in Bloomsbury but is now in Richmond with her husband, Leonard, 42, is deep in conversation with German-British painter Walter Sickert, 62. He has entertained the crowd with a one-man performance of Hamlet.

Walter Sickert

On the other side of the room is writer and suffragist Marjorie Strachey, 40. Her brother Lytton, 42, was with Leonard and Maynard in the secretive group at Cambridge, The Apostles. Marjorie has been reciting obscene versions of children’s nursery rhymes to the assembled partygoers.

But the star of the evening is Maynard’s lover, Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova, 31, currently in stressful rehearsals for a ballet she is producing and appearing in as part of a revue, You’ll Be Surprised, with her choreographer and dancing partner, Leonide Massine, 26, in Covent Garden later this month. Tonight, Lydia has performed a dance that impressed everyone.

Lydia Lopokova

Keynes has given Lydia the ground floor apartment in #41, just a few doors away. Lydia understands that his schedule is busy, but she often is lonely and depressed because Maynard’s Bloomsbury friends haven’t really welcomed her into their group. This party is one of the first times she has felt a bit more accepted.

However, Lydia and Maynard are about to have their first real fight. If he’s too busy to spend time with her, how come he’s planning to spend the Easter holiday in North Africa with his other lover, another Apostle, English writer Sebastian Sprott, 25?!

“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 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 this month I will be talking about the literary 1920s in Paris and New York City in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute 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 also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, end of October, 1922, Italy; Germany; and Ireland

In Rome, National Fascist Party leader Benito Mussolini, 39, wearing a black shirt and trousers and a bowler hat, arrives to form a government and become the youngest Prime Minister in Italy’s history, at the request of King Victor Emmanuel III, 52.

Benito Mussolini

In Florence, American ex-pat art historian Bernard Berenson, 57, tells a visiting friend,

These Fascists are the same people who requisitioned my most precious wines three years ago in the name of the Florentine Soviet Committee; then they were Communists. They don’t know what they are. The only lucky Italians are the ones who live abroad. I’ve lived here for 32 years and I’ve never seen a government and that’s their way of governing, like their police, who lie low during strikes. When the government comes up against some difficulty they disappear; when everything is settled by the nature of things, they reappear, triumphant. But nevertheless everything works in this country. That’s because Italy isn’t a nation; it’s a civilization.”

Bernard Berenson

*****

In Berlin, journalist Count Harry Kessler, 54, president of the German Peace Society, writes in his diary,

Perhaps [Mussolini] will usher in a period of fresh European disorders and wars…This may turn out to be a black day for Italy and Europe.”

Count Harry Kessler

*****

In Dublin, poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 57, admires Mussolini’s “burst of powerful personality.”

“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.

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 28, 1922, Four Courts, Dublin and Thoor Ballylee, Co. Galway, Ireland; Munich and Berlin, Germany

In the general election almost two weeks ago, candidates supporting the Treaty recently negotiated with Britain won more seats in the Dail than those against. The sore losers, led by Eamon de Valera, 39, seized the Four Courts in Dublin.

Under pressure from the impatient British government, Michael Collins, 31, leader of the pro-Treaty side and now Commander-in-Chief of the National Army, drove them out today. The Battle for Dublin and the larger Irish Civil War has begun.

First day of the Battle of Dublin

*****

In his castle in the west of Ireland, William Butler Yeats, 57, poet and co-founder of the Abbey Theater, writes to a friend,

All is I think going well and the principal result of all this turmoil will be love of order in the people and a stability in the government not otherwise obtainable…”

*****

Four days ago in Munich, the rabble-rousing Adolph Hitler, 33, leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party, entered the Stadelheim prison to begin serving his 100-day sentence for assaulting a political rival to keep him from giving a public speech.

*****

Four days ago in Berlin, far-right terrorists assassinated liberal Jewish industrialist and politician Walther Rathenau, 54.

Friends inform last year’s Nobel Laureate in Physics, Albert Einstein, 43, that he is on the same terrorists’ hit list as Rathenau.

Albert decides that this would be a good time to embark on the numerous international trips he has been planning.

Albert Einstein and his second wife, Elsa

Thanks once again to Neil Weatherall, author of the play The Passion of the Playboy Riots, for his help in sorting out Irish history.

“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 the fall, I will be talking about the centenary of The Waste Land in the Osher 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 also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, April, 1922, Palazzo San Giorgio, Genoa, Italy; and 50 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London

The Genoa Economic and Financial Conference is underway.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, 59, instigated this conference of delegates from selected European countries, to plan for the “reconstruction of economic Europe, devastated and broken into fragments by the desolating agency of war,” as he told the UK House of Commons. They gave him a rousing vote of confidence.

Rotogravure of the Palazzo San Giorgio

Over 700 journalists applied for the 200 ticketed slots to cover the four-week get together. Some of them have to sit on the floor.

The correspondent for the Toronto Star, American Ernest Hemingway, 22, arrived early in the month and began filing stories. His first description of the setting:

Genoa is crowded, a modern Babel with a corps of perspiring interpreters trying to bring the representatives of 40 [sic] different countries together. The narrow streets flow with crowds kept orderly by thousands of Italian troops.”

The troops in their black fezzes are visible to discourage violent outbreaks by Communists or anti-Communists in this city which is one-third “Red.” The best way to keep the peace seems to be closing the cafes, Hemingway observes.

The tension is exacerbated by Britain’s insistence, over France’s objection, that both Germany and Soviet Russia attend. France doesn’t want to invite their main debtor, the Weimar Republic, nor any representatives of the new Bolshevik government in Moscow.

America has declined to participate at all.

Living in Paris with his new wife since late last year, Ernie is happy to be covering his first major political event for the Star. He is getting used to filing his copy by cable, and a few of the more experienced journalists here have given him some tips. Muckraking investigative reporter Lincoln Steffens, just turned 56, showed him how to run words together—“aswellas”—to save money. Hemingway loves this.

It’s wonderful! It’s a new language. No fat, all bones and structure,”

he exclaims to his colleagues over chianti.

During the opening ceremony, the arrival of Lloyd George is met with a loud ovation. The other delegations enter, and, as Hemingway describes the scene:

When the hall is nearly full, the British delegation enters. They have come in motor cars through the troop-lined streets and enter with elan. They are the best dressed delegation…The hall is crowded and sweltering and the four empty chairs of the Soviet delegation are the four emptiest looking chairs I have ever seen. Everyone is wondering whether they will not appear. Finally they come through the door and start making their way through the crowd. Lloyd George looks at them intently, fingering his glasses…A mass of secretaries follow the Russian delegates, including two girls with fresh faces, hair bobbed in the fashion started by [American dancer] Irene Castle, and modish tailored suits. They are far and away the best-looking girls in the conference hall. The Russians are seated. Someone hisses for silence, and Signor Facta starts the dreary round of speeches that sends the conference under way.”

*****

Economist John Maynard Keynes, 38, is one of the many Brits attending. He represented his government in Versailles at the Paris Peace Conference three years ago—when Germany and Russia were definitely not invited. But now he is here as General Editor of a special 12-part series, “Reconstruction in Europe” by the Manchester Guardian Commercial. These supplements are being translated into five languages and include contributions from leading statesmen and businessmen, along with 13 pieces by Keynes.

First Manchester Guardian supplement

The Guardian approached Maynard last year to take on this role, and he agreed only when they assured him he would be able to closely supervise the writers who would be chosen. Keynes is using this medium to get across his opinions of the steps being taken to rebuild a Europe which has been so devastated by the Great War.

Throughout the conference, Keynes keeps up a steady correspondence with his friends back home. Particularly his most recent lover, Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova, 30.

*****

Back in Bloomsbury, Lydia is enjoying settling into her new home in 50 Gordon Square, where Maynard installed her before he left, surrounded by his artsy Bloomsbury friends and just a few doors away from his residence in number 46.

Lydia has left the Ballets Russes, where she was a principal dancer for many years, and is now dancing in Covent Garden with the company led by fellow Russian Leonid Massine, 25, former choreographer with the Ballets Russes.

Since Maynard left for Italy, Lydia has been writing to him almost every day about the details of her new London life; commenting on his articles in the Guardian

Your expression in the end give me nice tremblings”—

and how much she misses him—

I place melodious strokes all over you. Maynard, you are very nice.”

Lydia Lopokova

Thanks to Dr. Marie Hooper for assistance in understanding European history.

“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 Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.