“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, May 18-19, 1922, Hotel Majestic, Avenue Kleber; and 44 rue de l’Amiral-Hamelin, Paris

THE AFTER-THEATRE DINNER PARTY:

A Teleplay

SFX:  Renard by Stravinsky

Long shot of the Paris Opera House. The camera moves in to focus on the poster for tonight’s performance: 

Then a tight shot of the wording:

RENARD

Première mondiale! Musique et livret d’Igor Stravinsky  Chorégraphie de Bronislava Nijinsky

Interprété par Les Ballets Russes, sous la direction de Serge Diaghilev

Réalisé par Ernest Ansermet  Avec des décors conçus par Pablo Picasso

The camera pulls back and takes us through the streets of the Right Bank to the entrance of the Hotel Majestic on Avenue Kleber.

We follow the camera inside and up the stairs to a private room. Stravinsky’s music is drowned out by the sounds of about 35 or 40 partygoers, formally dressed, chatting and laughing. Waiters are getting ready to serve dinner.

Speaking in front of the room is Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev, 50.

DIAGHILEV:  Thank you to our hosts for the evening, Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Schiff, who have brought together tonight the four living artists Mr. Schiff most admires [gesturing to each]:  Monsieur Picasso, Monsieur Stravinsky, Monsieur Joyce [looks around the room] Monsieur Joyce? No? And Monsieur Proust [looks around the room again] Monsieur Proust?!

As he is speaking, the camera moves around the table to give close-ups of some of the dinner guests:  Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, 40, with a Catalan sash tied around his head like a turban; his wife Olga, 30; French director Ernest Ansermet, 38; French composer Erik Satie, just turned 56; Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, 39; English patron Sydney Schiff, 53; his wife Violet, 48; and English art critic Clive Bell, 40.

DIAGHILEV:  I hope you all enjoy the dinner.

Waiters begin serving. Outside, bells chime midnight.

Camera moves around the room showing the partygoers enjoying the food and each other’s company.

Fade to the same scene showing most of the food eaten and waiters slowly clearing a few plates and starting to serve coffee.

The camera settles on the door to the room and in staggers Irish author James Joyce, 40, looking confused, poorly dressed and a bit drunk. Sydney Schiff motions for a waiter to put a chair next to him, and Joyce sits in it. He puts his head in his hands, and a waiter sets a glass of champagne in front of him.

Panning back to the door, we see Marcel Proust, 50, enter, dressed in evening clothes and wearing white gloves. A chair is placed between Sydney Schiff and Stravinsky; Proust sits there. A waiter brings him some food and drink.

PROUST, turning to Stravinsky:  Monsieur Stravinsky, doubtless you admire Beethoven?

STRAVINSKY, barely looking at him:  I detest Beethoven.

PROUST:  But, cher maitre, surely those late sonatas and quartets…

STRAVINSKY:  Worse than all the others.

Ansermet, sitting nearby, leans over to talk to both of them to avoid having this discussion become a fight.

Snoring is heard, and the camera moves to focus on Joyce, who has nodded off.

Hearing the snoring, a posh woman seated next to Clive Bell tugs on his sleeve and whispers in his ear. The two get up, put on their coats and leave together. Sydney Schiff gets up to see them out.

As soon as they leave, Joyce wakes up and Proust leans over to talk to him:

PROUST:  Ah, Monsieur Joyce, you know the Princess…

JOYCE:  No, Monsieur.

PROUST:  Ah. You know the Countess…

JOYCE:  No, Monsieur.

PROUST:  Then you know Madame…

JOYCE:  No, Monsieur.

The camera moves away but we hear the two men still chatting.

People start pushing back their chairs, gathering their coats, getting ready to leave.

Proust turns to Sydney and Violet Schiff, asking if they would like to come to his apartment.

The three leave together, with Joyce following closely behind.

Outside the hotel, a car is waiting and all four wedge themselves in.

The camera follows the car just a few blocks to 44 rue de l’Amiral-Hamelin.

Joyce starts to get out of the car after the Schiffs and Proust, but Proust gestures for him to stay in and signals to the driver to continue on. Proust heads for his building while Sydney gives the driver specific instructions and then turns with his wife to follow Proust inside.

Inside the apartment we see Proust and the Schiffs happily chatting and drinking champagne as the camera pulls back to reveal the sun coming up outside the window.

FIN

“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.

Next month 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 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, May 6, 1922, Hogarth House, Richmond, London

Facing serious dental work, including three extractions, and her inability to fight off this influenza that has had her in and out of bed for the past few months, the spring of novelist Virginia Woolf’s 40th year is not going well.

Today, she and her husband Leonard, 41, were able to go for a walk. Hoorah! But then her temperature went up over 101 degrees, and they had to call the doctor.

The one bright spot is that, confined to bed, again, she now has time to delve back into the writing of Marcel Proust, 50.

Swann’s Way

She’d been introduced to his work during the Great War by her Bloomsbury friend, art critic Roger Fry, 55, whom she’s writing to today. She tells Roger that, although she has the

most violent cold in the whole parish,…Proust’s fat volume comes in very handy…to sink myself in it all day…Proust so titillates my own desire for expression that I can hardly set out the sentence. Oh if I could write like that! I cry. And at the moment such is the astonishing vibration and saturation and intensification that he procures—theres [sic] something sexual in it—that I feel I can write like that, and seize my pen and then I can’t write like that. Scarcely anyone so stimulates the nerves of language in me:  It becomes an obsession.”

At the beginning of the year she had first taken up Swann’s Way, and written to her fellow novelist E. M. Forster, 43, then in India,

Everyone is reading Proust. I sit silent and hear their reports. It seems to be a tremendous experience, but I’m shivering on the brink, and waiting to be submerged with a horrid sort of notion that I shall go down and down and down and perhaps never come up again.”

Forster was so impressed by Virginia’s reaction that he bought a copy of Swann’s Way on board the ship back home to England. He has found that Proust’s technique of revealing character through inner thoughts is influencing the Indian novel he is finally getting around to finishing.

Reading Proust is also helping Woolf with her work, a long short story, “Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street.” And it is keeping her from what she feels she is supposed to be reading, that vile tome, Ulysses by James Joyce, also 40.

Virginia is thinking that she also needs to write to her friend Ottoline Morrell, 48, to cancel her planned visit to the Morrells’ country pile, Garsington, at the end of the month. June or July might be better. This flu is just not going away.

Garsington

“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 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, after Easter, 1922, Hertford College, Oxford; and Trinity College, Cambridge

Evelyn Waugh, 19, is absolutely over the moon to be back on campus at Oxford.

Waugh has just been at home in Hampstead, London, with his father for Easter vacation. He thought he’d go mad with the boredom.

Evelyn Waugh

Having won a scholarship late last year, Evelyn entered Hertford College in January. Starting halfway through the academic year put him somewhat at a disadvantage, as all the other first-years have been making friends since their arrival last September.

Despite this awkward timing, Waugh has been fitting into campus life quite well. He smokes a pipe; he rides a bike. He is writing for both college magazines, Cherwell and Isis, and has given his maiden speech at the Oxford Union. He chose to oppose the motion,

This House would welcome Prohibition.”

However, one of the other disadvantages of his late start was that all the good rooms had been taken and Evelyn is left with a tiny, dark, ground floor chamber next to the buttery.

This location makes it a natural stopover for the campus drunks, day and night. The other evening, an inebriated member of the Bullingdon club vomited into Waugh’s window.

*****

About 90 miles northeast, at Trinity College, Cambridge, Russian émigré Vladimir Nabokov, about to turn 23, is returning to campus for his final term. He is not in good spirits. Spring always makes him think of past years spent with his family in the Russian countryside, before they were forced by the Bolshevik Revolution to go into exile.

Vladimir Nabokov

And less than a month ago, his father, V. D. Nabokov, 52, had been assassinated by two Russian monarchists at a political conference in Berlin. They were aiming at another politician; Vlad’s Dad tried to shield him and was shot twice.

Despite his melancholy, Vlad is determined to pass his final exams and graduate in June. He is going to throw himself into studying and not allow any diversions.

However, one of his fellow Russian students has just come into his room with a novel he has discovered, Ulysses, and he is reading out incredible passages from some raunchy woman’s soliloquy.

“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 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, mid-April, 1922, Monk’s House, Rodmell, East Sussex, England

Novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, is sitting in a comfy chair in the Woolfs’ house in the country with a blue-bound book in her lap.

Virginia is s l o w l y cutting each page of the brand-new copy of Ulysses which she ordered from her London bookseller. £4. Not cheap.

James Joyce’s Ulysses

She knows she has to actually read the book, not just handle it. She did read the first eight chapters earlier this year, in magazine excerpts. And then re-read the first four.

Then put it down and told herself she would definitely finish it. Soon.

Her husband Leonard, 41, jumped right in and started reading. Ironically, the manuscript of Ulysses was submitted to them a few years ago, to be published by their own Hogarth Press. They declined. Too big a print job, they explained.

Virginia and Leonard Woolf

Virginia has written to her brother-in-law, art critic Clive Bell, also 40: 

Mr. Joyce…I have him on the table…Leonard is already 30 pages deep…I look, and sip, and shudder.”

After all, she’s been ill. Bad case of the flu. And, despite that, she has been working on a long short story—“Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street”—that she might send to their friend, American ex-pat Tom Eliot, 33, for his new magazine. If she has it done in a few weeks.

Eliot. He’s one of the ones who has been praising Joyce and his latest book. Sometimes Virginia thinks Eliot likes everyone else’s writing better than hers.

She’ll start reading it again if the rain keeps up.

“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 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 16, Easter, 1922, Thoor Ballylee, near Gort; Dominick Street, Galway City; and Rutland Square, Dublin

Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 56, and his family are settling in nicely to their new country home in the west of Ireland. Well, not a traditional “country home.” A Norman tower, actually. Which Yeats has renamed Thoor Ballylee.

Thoor Ballylee

From the top of his tower he can see the Aughty Mountains to the east and the hills of the Burren to the West.

He writes to friends,

All we can see from our windows is beautiful and quiet…Everything is so beautiful that to go elsewhere is to leave beauty behind.”

*****

Yet, about 20 miles away in Galway City, Nora Barnacle, 38, home from Paris on a family visit, is staying in her uncle’s house with her two children, Giorgio, 16, and Lucia, 14.

Galway City

Insurgents from the Irish Republican Army [IRA], fighting against the right of the newly declared Irish Free State to uphold the Anglo-Irish Treaty, burst into the house.

They demand to use the bedroom as a base to fire on their enemies out the window.

Nora is appalled. And panicked. Her partner, the father of her children, Irish novelist James Joyce, 40, had begged her to not come here. He knows there is a Civil War raging throughout the country and he fears for their safety. He has been writing her anguished letters from their home in Paris ever since she left.

I am like a man looking into a dark pool,”

Joyce writes to her.

She and the children arrived a few weeks ago, coming over via London, which Nora really enjoyed. She might try to convince Jim to move there, rather than continue to live in Paris. At least they’d be surrounded by the English language.

But right now, Nora is thinking that she needs to get herself and her kids on a train to Dublin as fast as she can.

*****

Michael Collins, 31, recently named Chair of the Provisional Government of the pro-Treaty Irish Free State, gets out of his car at Vaughan’s Hotel in Rutland Square, followed by other members of the National Army. A group of 12 anti-government, armed IRA men rush by him and start shooting at his entourage. Collins fires at them with his revolver and disarms one of the younger men. The boy admits he didn’t realize that he had just shot at the leader of the Irish Free State. Good thing he missed.

Vaughan’s Hotel

My thanks to Rena McAllen, member of the board of directors of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, for assistance with details of Thoor Ballylee, and Neil Weatherall, author of the play, The Playboy Riots, for assistance with details of the Irish Civil War.

“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 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, England, America, France, and Ireland

Comment continues to come in reacting to the new novel Ulysses, by Irishman James Joyce, 40, published two months ago by a small bookshop in Paris, Shakespeare and Company, owned by American ex-pat Sylvia Beach, 35.

SCANDAL OF JAMES JOYCE’S ULYSSES

After a rather boresome [sic] perusal of James Joyce’s Ulysses, published in Paris for private subscribers at the rate of three guineas in francs, I can realize one reason at least for Puritan America’s Society for the Prevention of Vice, and can understand why the Yankee judges fined the publishers of The Little Review $100 for the publication of a very rancid chapter of the Joyce stuff, which appears in to have been written by a perverted lunatic who has made a specialty of the literature of the latrine…Joyce is a writer of talent, but in Ulysses he has ruled out all the elementary decencies of life and dwells appreciatively on things that sniggering louts of schoolboys guffaw about.

Sporting Times

“In addition to this stupid glorification of mere filth, the book suffers from being written in the manner of a demented George Meredith. There are whole chapters of it without any punctuation or other guide to what the writer is really getting at. Two-thirds of it is incoherent, and the passages that are plainly written are devoid of wit, displaying only a coarse salacrity [sic] intended for humour…The main contents of the book are enough to make a Hottentot sick…[However] there are quite a number of the New York intelligentsia who declare that Joyce has written the best book in the world.”—”Aramis,” Sporting Times, England

[Joyce is] Rabelais after a nervous breakdown.”—Sheffield Daily Telegraph, England

[Ulysses] has nothing at all to do with Homer…The book itself in its blue paper cover looks at first glance like nothing so much as a telephone directory…It seems a pity that Mr. Joyce, who might be a universally admired writer, restricts the appeal of his work by so many Zolaesque expressions, which are, to say the least, disfiguring.”—“Diary of a Man About Town,” London Evening News

[Joyce is] an intensely serious man [with] the mind of an artist, abnormally sensitive to the secret of individuality of emotions and things…A genius of the very highest order, strictly comparable to Goethe or Dostoevsky…Ulysses is, fundamentally (though it is much else besides), an immense, a prodigious self-laceration, the tearing away from himself, by a half-demented man of genius, of inhibitions and limitations which have grown to be flesh of his flesh…Mr. Joyce has made the superhuman effort to empty the whole of his consciousness into it…[But he has become] the victim of his own anarchy….[Joyce] is the man with the bomb who would blow what remains of Europe into the sky…This transcendental buffoonery, this sudden uprush of the vis comica into a world where in the tragic incompatibility of the practical and the instinctive is embodied, is a very great achievement.”—“Mr. Joyce’s Ulysses,” John Middleton Murry, Nation and Athenaeum, England

The Nation and Athenaeum

[Joyce’s vision of human nature is] mean, hostile, and uncharitable,…a very astonishing phenomenon in letters. He is sometimes dazzlingly original. If he does not see life whole he sees it piercingly. His ingenuity is marvelous. He has wit. He has a prodigious humor. He is afraid of naught…It is more indecent, obscene, scatological, and licentious than the majority of professedly pornographic books…He says everything—everything…The code is smashed to bits…[The Nighttown episode has] the richest stuff, handled with a virtuosity to match the quality of the material…I have never read anything to surpass [Molly Bloom’s soliloquy], and I doubt if I have ever read anything to equal it…[Joyce] apparently thinks that there is something truly artistic and high minded in playing the lout to the innocent and defenseless reader…He has made novel reading into a fair imitation of penal servitude. Many persons could not continue reading Ulysses; they would be obliged, by mere shock, to drop it.”—“James Joyce’s Ulysses,” Arnold Bennett, The London Outlook, England

The London Outlook

Amused, stimulated, charmed, interested (through the first three chapters only to be) puzzled, bored, irritated, & disillusioned as by a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples (by the end of chapter 6)…It was an illiterate, underbred book (by a) self-taught working man”—Virginia Woolf, in her diary, England

*****

[Ulysses is] a step toward making the modern world possible for art. [It gives] a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history…[Joyce has replaced narrative with] the mythical method…[It is] a book to which we are all indebted and from which none of us can escape”—T. S. Eliot, “Ulysses, Order and Myth,” The Dial, America

*****

[Molly Bloom’s soliloquy is a feat of] diabolic clairvoyance, black magic.”—Paris edition of New York Herald, France

Take this Irishman Joyce, a sort of Zola gone to seed. Someone recently sent me a copy of Ulysses. I was told I must read it, but how can 1 plow through such stuff? I read a little here and there, but, oh my God! How bored I got! Probably Joyce thinks that because he prints all the dirty little words he is a great novelist. You know, of course, he got his ideas from Dujardin?…Joyce, Joyce, why he’s nobody…from the Dublin docks:  no family, no breeding. Someone else once sent me his A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a book entirely without style or distinction; why, I did the same thing, but much better in The Confessions. of a Young Man. Why attempt the same thing unless you can turn out a better book?…Ulysses is hopeless, it is absurd to imagine that any good end can be served by trying to record every single thought and sensation of any human being. That’s not art, that’s attempting to copy the London Directory….He lives here in Paris, I understand. How does he manage to make a living? His books don’t sell. Maybe he has money?”—Irish critic George Moore, in conversation in France

A welter of pornography (the rudest school-boy kind), and unformed and unimportant drivel.”—Edith Wharton, France

It bursted over us like an explosion in print, whose words and phrases fell upon us like a gift of tongues, like a less than holy Pentecostal experience”—Young American in France

Sylvia Beach and James Joyce in front of headlines at Shakespeare and Company

*****

I should think you would need something to restore your self-respect after this last inspection of the stinkpots…Everything dirty seems to have the same irresistible attraction for you that cow-dung has for flies.”—The author’s brother, Stanislaus Joyce, Ireland

I’ve always told him he should give up writing and take up singing.”—The author’s partner, Nora Barnacle, visiting her mother in Ireland

“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 just before and just after the Great War, at Carnegie-Mellon University’s Lifelong Learning program.

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 in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, April, 1922, Vanity Fair magazine

American writer Djuna Barnes, 29, arrived in Paris a few months ago with a letter of introduction to one of the ex-patriate writers she most admires, James Joyce, 40. This month, her profile of the Irishman appears in Vanity Fair magazine.

A PORTRAIT OF THE MAN WHO IS, AT PRESENT,

ONE OF THE MORE SIGNIFICANT FIGURES IN LITERATURE

BY DJUNA BARNES

…Of Joyce, the man, one has heard very little. I had seen a photograph of him, the collar up about the narrow throat, the beard, heavier in those days, descending into the abyss of the hidden bosom. I had been told that he was going blind, and we in America learned from Ezra Pound that ‘Joyce is the only man on the continent who continues to produce in spite of poverty and sickness, working from eight to sixteen hours a day.’…

James Joyce

“And then, one day, I came to Paris. Sitting in the café of the Deux Magots, that faces the little church of St. Germain des Près, I saw approaching, out of the fog and damp, a tall man, with head slightly lifted and slightly turned, giving to the wind an orderly distemper of red and black hair, which descended sharply into a scant wedge on an out-thrust chin.

“He wore a blue grey coat, too young it seemed, partly because he had thrust its gathers behind him, partly because the belt which circled it, lay two full inches above the hips…

“Because he had heard of the suppression of The Little Review on account of Ulysses and of the subsequent trial, he sat down opposite me, who was familiar with the whole story, ordering a white wine. He began to talk at once. ‘The pity is,’ he said, seeming to choose his words for their age rather than their aptness, ‘the public will demand and find a moral in my book—or worse they may take it in some more serious way, and on the honor of a gentleman, there is not one single serious line in it.’

“For a moment there was silence. His hands, peculiarly limp in the introductory shake and peculiarly pulpy, running into a thickness that the base gave no hint of, lay, one on the stem of the glass, the other, forgotten, palm out, on the most delightful waistcoat it has ever been my happiness to see. Purple with alternate doe and dog heads

James Joyce by Djuna Barnes

“He saw my admiration and he smiled. ‘Made by the hand of my grandmother for the first hunt of the season’ and there was another silence in which he arranged and lit a cigar…

“’In Ulysses I have recorded, simultaneously, what a man says, sees, thinks, and what such seeing, thinking, saying does, to what you Freudians call the subconscious,—but as for psychoanalysis,’ he broke off, ‘it’s neither more nor less than blackmail.’

“He raised his eyes. There is something unfocused in them,—the same paleness seen in plants long hidden from the sun,—and sometimes a little jeer that goes with a lift and rounding of the upper lip…

“If I were asked what seemed to be the most characteristic pose of James Joyce I should say that of the head; turned farther away than disgust and not so far as death…After this I should add—think of him as a heavy man yet thin, drinking a thin cool wine with lips almost hidden in his high narrow head, or smoking the eternal cigar, held slightly above shoulder-level, and never moved until consumed, the mouth brought to and taken away from it to eject the sharp jets of yellow smoke…

“It has been my pleasure to talk to him many times during my four months in Paris. We have talked of rivers and religion, of the instinctive genius of the church which chose, for the singing of its hymns, the voice without ‘overtones’—the voice of the eunuch. We have talked of women, about women he seems a bit disinterested. Were I vain I should say he is afraid of them, but I am certain he is only a little skeptical of their existence. We have talked of Ibsen, of Strindberg, Shakespeare. ‘Hamlet is a great play, written from the standpoint of the ghost,’ and of Strindberg, ‘No drama behind the hysterical raving.’

“We have talked of death, of rats, of horses, the sea; languages, climates and offerings. Of artists and of Ireland…

“Sometimes his wife, Nora, and his two children have been with him. Large children, almost as tall as he is himself, and Nora walks under fine red hair, speaking with a brogue that carries the dread of Ireland in it; Ireland as a place where poverty has become the art of scarcity. A brogue a little more defiant than Joyce’s which is tamed by preoccupation.

“Joyce has few friends, yet he is always willing to leave his writing table and his white coat of an evening, to go to some quiet near-by cafe, there to discuss anything that is not ‘artistic’ or ‘flashy’ or ‘new.’ Callers have often found him writing in the night or drinking tea with Nora. I myself once came upon him as he lay full length on his stomach poring over a valise full of notes taken in his youth for Ulysses

“However it is with him, he will come away for the evening, for he is simple, a scholar, and sees nothing objectionable in human beings if they will only remain in place…”

Vanity Fair, April

“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 just before and just after the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

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.

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, late March, 1922, Shakespeare and Company, 12 rue de l’Odeon, Paris; 31 Nassau Street, New York City, New York; and 311 Chatham Street, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

At the Shakespeare and Company bookstore on rue de l’Odeon, the American owner Sylvia Beach, 35, is sending out copies of the new novel Ulysses, by Irish ex-pat James Joyce, 40, which she published last month.

Sylvia is able to fill orders from countries all over the world—except the United States.

Because excerpts from the novel, which appeared in The Little Review there a few years ago, were determined to be obscene by a New York state court, U. S. Customs officials are on alert.

Oh, she has plenty of orders. One of the largest—25 copies—is from the Washington Square Bookshop in Greenwich Village, where The Little Review was first confiscated.

Washington Square Bookshop stationery

Sylvia is determined. One of Joyce’s many benefactors, Irish-American attorney John Quinn, 52, who unsuccessfully argued the case for the Ulysses excerpts in court, has suggested smuggling copies in to some northern city from Canada. Sylvia asked one of the young American would-be novelists who frequent her store, Ernest Hemingway, 22, if he knew anyone back home in Chicago who could help. The next day he gave Sylvia contact details of a friend and Sylvia shot off a letter to him.

But that was in the beginning of February. She didn’t hear anything until last week when he sent a brief telegram: 

SHOOT BOOKS PREPAID YOUR RESPONSIBILITY

ADDRESSING SAME TO ME CARE DOMINION EXPRESS COMPANY,”

with a Canadian address.

Not very promising.

Sylvia is thinking of giving up on Hemingway’s friend and exploring one of Quinn’s contacts, a good friend of his, Mitchell Kennerley, 43, who has a successful Park Avenue auction house. Kennerley imports books and other items from the UK all the time. Quinn says Mitch is personal friends with the captain of a transatlantic liner who could bring Ulysses over from London, slowly, in batches of 25 or 30 copies per month.

That might be the best option.

*****

In his law office, John Quinn is catching up on his correspondence. He is updating Sylvia Beach on the fate of Ulysses in New York. Copies have started to appear in bookshops here. One of his favorites, Drake’s on 40th Street, is selling her $12 non-deluxe copies for $20; Brentano’s for $35, even $50.

Brentano’s logo

How did they get a hold of the books?! Traveling Americans might have brought them back in their luggage. But Quinn advises Sylvia that the authorities will soon start confiscating any that they find. Some returning tourists have already had their copies destroyed at the Port of New York.

Quinn is willing to make an arrangement with Kennerley.

Beach would have to ship the books in large quantities from Paris to London. They would enter the U. S. as freight, so customs would probably overlook them; they are more intent these days on catching bootleggers. Even if the books were found, they would probably be returned to London rather than burned.

Kennerley would collect the cash from the American buyers, have the copies delivered by private carriers—thereby avoiding sending “obscene” material through the mail—and pass the profits on to Sylvia. Retaining a commission of 10% of the retail price.

Quinn emphasizes to her that Kennerley is willing to break the law and, if he were arrested,

There wouldn’t be a ghost of a shade of a shadow of a chance of acquitting Kennerly.”

In fact, Quinn tells her, hold on to the 14 copies he ordered for now, until he comes up with a definitive plan to receive them.

*****

In Windsor, Ontario, Barnet Braverman, 34, is wondering why he hasn’t heard anything from that American woman in Paris who wants him to smuggle books across the border.

When her initial letter finally caught up to him a week or so ago—he had moved from Chicago to Toronto and is now packing to move to Detroit—he was intrigued.

Miss Beach said a mutual friend had recommended him and that she needs to get copies of James Joyce’s new novel, Ulysses, to Americans—particularly New York publishers like Knopf and Huebsch who are too yellow to publish it themselves.

Braverman really wants to have a part in sticking it to the publishing establishment. His new ad agency job here in Windsor means he will be taking a short boat ride from and to Detroit across Lake St. Clair every day as part of his commute.

The Detroit and Windsor Ferry

Barnet is thinking he should write Miss Beach a detailed letter so she knows how eager he is to help out.

“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 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 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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, March 7, 1922, Hogarth House, Richmond, London

Virginia Woolf, 40, is watching her husband, Leonard, 41, walk their guest for today’s tea, fellow novelist Edward Morgan Forster, 43, to the bus stop. Forster is heading out to visit his favorite aunt in Putney, just a few miles away.

Hogarth House

Virginia is so pleased that Morgan has come back to England—just last week—after almost a year away in India. But he seems depressed. He’s back living with his Mum and cat in Weybridge, in an ugly old house far from a train station, and hasn’t published a novel in a dozen years.

They discussed their recent mutual discovery of the work of Marcel Proust, 50. Forster started reading him on the boat back home; Virginia has been reading the Frenchman while working on a short story, “Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street.” Both admire the way he uses memory to define characters.

Two days ago the Woolfs hosted another writer-friend for tea, American ex-pat T. S. Eliot, 34. He too seems a bit distracted by his current situation, working all day in a bank and coming home to a wife who is ill. Virginia has always been intimidated by him. Forster she thinks of as a friend, someone whose opinions she values. Eliot she sees as a competitor.

E. M. Forster and T. S. Eliot

Tom told them about a long poem, about 40 pages and as yet untitled, that he’s working on. He says it is his best work and the Woolfs’ Hogarth Press has agreed to publication in the fall. He has also received funding to start a quarterly literary magazine, also untitled.

There was something about Eliot that Virginia thought she had noticed before. He wears a thin dusting of face powder. Sort of a purplish color. The gossip is that he wants to make himself look even more stressed than he is.

After two months of sickness herself, being bed-ridden and unable to write, Virginia is now feeling her energy returning. The doctor has allowed her to get out and walk—which is how she writes, working out the text in her head. And she can now receive guests such as Morgan and Tom.

She still doesn’t understand Eliot’s enthusiasm for the new novel by Irishman James Joyce, 40, Ulysses. Virginia and Leonard rejected it for their press a few years ago. Now a little bookstore in Paris has published it. The way Eliot talks about the novel, Virginia feels that Joyce has done what she is trying to do—maybe even better?

Virginia decides she needs to go back and read Ulysses again.

“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.

This June I will be talking about the Stein family salons in Paris before and after the Great War at 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 also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, March, 1922, London, Oxford, Paris

In newspapers and correspondence in England and France, the reviews are coming in…

Ulysses by James Joyce

No book has ever been more eagerly and curiously awaited by the strange little inner circle of book lovers and litterateurs than James Joyce’s Ulysses…Mr. James Joyce is a man of genius…I cannot, however, believe that sex plays such a preponderant part in life as Mr. Joyce represents…[Molly Bloom’s soliloquy is] the vilest, according to ordinary standards, in all literature…[But] there are phrases in which the words are packed tightly, as trim, as taut, as perfect as these things can be. There are fine ellipses in which a great sweep of meaning is concentrated into a single just right sentence. There is a spot of colour which sets the page aglow…And yet its very obscenity is somehow beautiful and wrings the soul to pity…Has he not exaggerated the vulgarity and magnified the madness of mankind and the mysterious materiality of the universe?”

—Sisley Huddleston, London Observer

London Observer, March 5, 1922

It took, I understand, nearly six years of Mr. Joyce’s life to write, and it will take nearly six of ours to read…The book is a staggering feat which, once attempted and more than half achieved, may never be attempted again.”

—George Slocombe, London Daily Herald

George Slocombe

“An Irish Revel:  And Some Flappers”

Our first impression is that of sheer disgust, our second of irritability because we never know whether a character is speaking or merely thinking, our third of boredom at the continual harping on obscenities (nothing cloys a reader’s appetite so quickly as dirt)…Reading Mr. Joyce is like making an excursion into Bolshevist Russia:  all standards go by the board…The maddest, muddiest, most loathsome book issued in our own or any other time—inartistic, incoherent, unquotably nasty—a book that one would have thought could only emanate from a criminal lunatic asylum…[Joyce is] the man with the bomb who would blow what remains of Europe into the sky…His intention, so far as he has any social intention, is completely anarchic.”

—S. P. B. Mais, London Daily Express

S. P. B. Mais

I’m reading the new Joyce—I hate it when I dip here and there, but when I read it in the right order I am much impressed. However I have but read some thirty pages in that order. It has our Irish cruelty and also our kind of strength and the Martello Tower pages are full of beauty. A cruel playful mind like a great soft tiger cat—I hear, as I read, the report of the rebel sergeant in 1898:  ‘O he was a fine fellow, a fine fellow. It was a pleasure to shoot him.’”

William Butler Yeats, near Oxford,

     letter to a friend in London

*****

Joyce has a most goddam wonderful book. It’ll probably reach you in time. Meantime the report is that he and all his family are starving but you can find the whole crew of them every night in Michaud’s where Binney [his wife Hadley] and I can only afford to go about once a week. Gertrude Stein says Joyce reminds her of an old woman out in San Francisco. The woman’s son struck it rich in the Klondyke and the old woman went around wringing her hands and saying, ‘Oh my poor Joey! My poor Joey! He’s got so much money!’ The damned Irish, they have to moan about something or other, but you never heard of an Irishman starving.”

Ernest Hemingway, Paris,

    letter to a friend in Chicago

By the end of the month the $12 copies of Ulysses have sold out.

“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. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This June I will be talking about the Stein family salons in Paris before and after the Great War at 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 also 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.