Which is worse? Financial problems or visiting family members?
That’s what is confronting ex-pat bookstore owner Sylvia Beach, 34, who is writing to her sister, Holly Beach Dennis, 37, in Italy to ask for money.
Shakespeare and Company, 12 rue de l’Odeon
Sylvia and her partner, Adrienne Monnier, 29, who owns a French-language bookstore across the street, have just returned from a lovely holiday in Hyeres on the southeastern coast of France.
Now that they are back home Sylvia has to face her mother, here on her annual visit, joined by Mom’s brother and his son.
In addition, the bill for renovations Sylvia had to have done to move her shop, Shakespeare and Company, to this new—much improved—location has come due. A total of 2,120 francs, including printing the announcement of the relocation.
But the bill that worries Sylvia the most is the one from the printer, Darantiere, in Dijon. He needs 1,000 francs for the work he has done setting type for Ulysses, the controversial novel by Irish ex-pat James Joyce, 39, which Sylvia has offered to publish. Darantiere has agreed to be paid in instalments, and Sylvia has solicited quite a few pre-orders from around the world. But not enough subscribers have sent checks yet to cover the growing expenses.
Letter from Darantiere
Reluctantly, Sylvia writes to Holly:
I’m asking you to lend me a thousand francs!!! My carpentry bill will be handed in any day now and mother who was going to lend me all the money for my moving expenses had to stop off in the midst, having had a great deal of expense getting [their sister] Cyprian equipped as a rising film star…My business is going well [but I] have to put every single centime aside to pay the printer.”
The plan is still to bring out Ulysses this fall, but Sylvia is dubious.
You don’t have to wait for this blog to work its way through the year.
Just order “Such Friends”: The Literary 1920s, Volume II—1921, the second in the series collecting these blog postings about this amazing decade. The print version is available now on Amazon; the e-book will be available in a few weeks.
You’ve certainly put a lot of work into this. It is a panorama of the period…Look forward to reading your future work”—Richard, Hemingway fan
Following less than eight months after the publication of Volume I, this collection of more than 100 vignettes has the same easy to dip in and out of layout. Or you can read straight through from January 1st to the upcoming December 31st.
Interior pages of “Such Friends”
Spoiler alert: It’s got a great ending [and two recipes]!
I have really been enjoying your book…Because of the way it’s set up with episodes corresponding to dates of the year, it’s a great one for reading a bit from on a daily basis.”—Emily, British writer fan
And what about your book-loving friends? You may know which early 20th century writers they love, but are you sure which works they have read or not read at gift-giving time? The series “Such Friends”: The Literary 1920s is the perfect present because they sure haven’t read this! Give them the gift of great gossip about their favorite creative people.
The series “Such Friends”: The Literary 1920s is based in part on my research for my Ph.D. in Communications from Dublin City University in Ireland. which focused on the legendary writers and artists who socialized in salons in the early years of the 20th century—William Butler Yeats and the Irish Literary Renaissance, Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, Gertrude Stein and the Americans in Paris, and Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table. For the blogs and books I have expanded the cast of characters to also include those who orbited around them such as T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Edna St. Vincent Millay and others.
My investigations into creative writers in the early 20th century began with Manager as Muse, a case study of Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ work with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, the topic of my MBA thesis at Duquesne University in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is also available on Amazon in print and e-book formats.
The “Such Friends” book series has been beautifully designed by Lisa Thomson [LisaT2@comcast.net] and produced on Amazon by Loral and Seth Pepoon of Selah Press [email@example.com].
The cover art on Volume II is a painting by Virginia Woolf’s sister, painter Vanessa Bell, A Conversation.
A Conversation by Vanessa Bell, 1913-1916
If you are in Pittsburgh, and easily accessible by bus, I will hand deliver your personally signed copy!
Everyone is reading “Such Friends”!
I read it in chronological order and found the vignettes most interesting. A sort of behind the scenes look into the thoughts, character, and personalities of the writers and artists affiliated with the individual salons in the beginning of the decade. I do believe the 20s sparked a Renaissance of thought and ideas in the literary and artistic world. I must admit that there were a few of their associates that I was not familiar with which may merit further study.”—Robert, Wisconsin fan
For complimentary review copies of both volumes of “Such Friends”: The Literary 1920s, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and Ireland Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.
Harriet Shaw Weaver, 44, publisher of the Egoist magazine, founder of the Egoist Press, and benefactor of many novelists and poets, has come to a decision.
She has heard rumors that one of the writers she supports [well, at least one] uses the money she sends to regularly get drunk. Irish novelist James Joyce, 39, living in Paris, has written to assure her that these are just rumors. Although he does mention that he probably drinks a bit too much.
Weaver has decided that Joyce’s bad habits are irrelevant in the face of his tremendous talent. Not only is she going to continue to support him, she is going to become his only publisher in the United Kingdom. For £15 she purchases the rights to his book of poetry published 14 years ago, Chamber Music, as well as, for £150, the copyrights to his early short story collection, Dubliners, and his play, Exiles.
James Joyce’s Chamber Music
Joyce has told her that American ex-patriate Sylvia Beach, 34, has offered to publish his novel-in-progress, Ulysses, through her Paris bookstore, Shakespeare & Co. Harriet is working with Sylvia to time the publication of the novel in England so that it doesn’t hurt sales of Beach’s publication in Paris.
Joyce assures both women that he’s optimistic the novel could still be ready this fall.
In Paris, after Joyce collapses in a music hall from the strain of working 16 hours a day on his book, he decides to change his work habits.
Now he limits writing and revising Ulysses to five or six hours each day and spends more time on eight-mile walks around Paris.
His eye pain has become a bit more bearable, and he is working on 10 different episodes in the novel at the same time. Joyce has revised one section, “Aeolus,” to incorporate headlines which weren’t in any of the excerpts which appeared in the American magazine TheLittle Review. This changes the orientation of the second half of the book, which is being sent off to a printer in Dijon to be set into galleys.
The printer comes back to Joyce with all kinds of questions. Why so many compound words? Those are usually two words. Are you sure you want them as one word? Only one of the men who works there has any grasp of the English language at all.
And Joyce and Beach are running out of typists. They have all tried for a while and then given up in frustration over Joyce’s handwritten color-coded insertions to be incorporated into the text.
Recently they have enlisted an American drinking buddy of Joyce’s, fellow novelist and sometimes publisher Robert McAlmon, 26. He is doing his best with the four notebooks full of changes marked in red, yellow, blue, purple and green in Joyce’s scrawl.
For the first few pages of the all-important “Penelope” section, McAlmon is meticulous about determining exactly where Joyce means each phrase to go. He has even re-typed a whole page to make sure everything is in the right place.
But after a bit, McAlmon muses, does it really matter when the character Molly Bloom thinks this, that or the other? What difference does it make if those thoughts go here, or there, or a few pages later, or maybe not at all. So he just puts them in wherever he is typing.
Irish-American lawyer John Quinn, 51, is sailing back to New York, via London.
On this European trip he has concentrated on just Paris—not Ireland, not England, which he visited in the past few years. And his focus has paid off.
Travel Guide, London-Paris
He sent his ambassador [and lover], Mrs. Jeanne Foster, 42, ahead to arrange meetings with painters and their dealers.
She did a magnificent job. As a result, he’s coming back with arrangements to buy a sculpture and three paintings by Spaniard Pablo Picasso, 39, as well as works by Romanian painter and sculptor, Constantin Brancusi, 45, and French painters Andre Derain, 41, and Andre de Segonzac, 37.
More important to Quinn, he has developed personal friendships with the artists and their dealers.
John Quinn and Constantin Brancusi
Quinn also visited the English-language bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, owned by American ex-patriate Sylvia Beach, 34. He had advised her to move from her “shabby” location and Quinn approves of her new site on rue de l’Odeon. From here she plans to publish the monumental novel Ulysses by Irish ex-pat James Joyce, 39. Quinn is supporting Joyce financially by buying up the manuscript as it is written. Support the artist as well as the art.
Now Quinn is going back to the law office he thinks of as a prison.
American novelist Sherwood Anderson, 44, and his wife Tennessee, 47, are heading back to his New York job, half-heartedly doing public relations for an independent movie company, via London.
His first trip to Europe has been what he’d dreamt of. After he visited Shakespeare and Company, Beach introduced him to Joyce and they had a few lunches together. Unfortunately, to get the conversation started the first time, Anderson asked Joyce what he thought of Ireland. Bad move.
Anderson told Beach he will spread the word among his American literary friends about her upcoming publication of Ulysses. Sherwood gave Sylvia a list of names and as many addresses as he could remember for her to use to solicit subscriptions. He even added personal notes to the prospectuses she is sending out.
Sherwood thinks of the job waiting for him in New York as a joke. He still has some advertising accounts to bring in income, but he’s not in a rush to go back to Chicago.
American writer Edmund Wilson, 26, is heading back to his New York job, managing editor of Vanity Fair, via London. He enjoyed his time in Paris these past few weeks but doesn’t think he really got a feel for the city.
Vanity Fair, August 1921
Wilson spent most of his time tracking down and trying to lure back his former lover from New York City, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, 29, living in Paris as Vanity Fair’s European editor. Wilson has pushed and published her work in the magazine. But it’s clear that Millay has moved on from Edmund. To some British newspaperman.
Last month Wilson wrote to one of the magazine’s other editors,
I found [Millay] in a very first-rate hotel on the Left Bank and better dressed, I suppose, than she has ever been before in her life. You were right in guessing that she was well cared for as she had never been before…[She] told me she wanted to settle down to a new life: She was tired of breaking hearts and spreading havoc.”
American novelist Sinclair Lewis, 36, is heading to Paris from London.
Last year his sixth novel, Main Street, was a bestseller. However, he lost out on the Pulitzer Prize to The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, 59. Apparently, Main Street, with its focus on the hypocrisy in a small Midwest town, didn’t fit the jury’s criteria of a novel “which shall best present the wholesome atmosphere of American life.”
Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
Lewis is bringing along another American writer whom he has just met in London, Harold Stearns, 30, whose book America and the Young Intellectual is coming out this year. Lewis plans to spend only a few days in Paris, but Stearns is going to stay on in Montparnasse, on the Left Bank.
Over on the Right Bank, American composer Virgil Thomson, 24, is settling into Paris and his temporary residence at the home of a French family on the rue de Provence.
At the beginning of the month, Virgil had bid a not-too-sad farewell to his fellow students in the Harvard Glee Club. The group has just completed a triumphant tour of France, with Virgil as accompanist. He was also the understudy for the conductor, and actually got a chance to step into the maestro’s shoes one night. Now they are all heading back to America.
Except Virgil. With his well-earned scholarship, he is going to stay here in Paris for a whole year.
Virgil has, of course, already been to Shakespeare and Company in rue de l’Odeon and signed up for Beach’s lending library. He is planning to move closer to the studio of Nadia Boulanger, 34, with whom he will be studying composition. His new residence at 20 rue de Berneis, a 10-minute walk from Boulanger, is in a less than desirable neighborhood. The street, and the building, are overwhelmed with what Virgil refers to as “daughters of joy.”
American ex-patriate Sylvia Beach, 34, has relocated her shop, Shakespeare & Co., to this new location, a few blocks from where she originally opened almost two years ago.
Sylvia Beach at her bookstore, 12 rue de l’Odeon
One of her recent American visitors, the Irish-American lawyer and art collector, John Quinn, 51, had pronounced the previous shop “a hovel.” Quinn is in the process of buying up the manuscript of Ulysses, the radical novel by Irish writer James Joyce, 39, which Sylvia is publishing this fall.
Quinn can be brusque. And rude.
But Beach and Joyce are glad he’s chipping in with financial [and legal] support while Joyce finishes his monumental work.
Shortly after Quinn’s visit, Sylvia’s partner, Adrienne Monnier, 29, heard that the antiques dealer here in no. 12 wanted someone to take over her lease. Sylvia jumped at the chance.
A shoemaker, a corset maker, and a book appraiser to her left. An orthopaedic specialist, a music shop, and a nose spray manufacturer to her right. And Adrienne’s own French-language bookshop, La Maison des Amis des Livres, right across the street at no. 7. A good fit.
Adrienne Monnier at her bookstore, 7 rue de l’Odeon
Best of all, Adrienne’s apartment is up the block at no. 18. Sylvia has already moved all her personal stuff in with Adrienne.
In addition to this great location just north of the Luxembourg Gardens, the new space is bigger and easier to find. Two rooms above the shop are included in the rent.
Quinn approves of the new place, happy that Joyce’s Ulysses isn’t “going to come out in that shanty.”
Now that’s she’s all settled in, Sylvia and Adrienne are going away on a brief vacation.
This summer I am talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at the University of Pittsburgh. This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London before the Great War in the Osher 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 available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.
On board ship, steaming from the United States to France, Irish-American attorney John Quinn, 51, is finally starting to relax.
Leaving his successful law office behind to go on this holiday feels as though he has been let out of prison.
On previous European trips Quinn has focused on visiting with his friends in Dublin and London. This time he is going to spend the whole time in Paris. Specifically meeting with the artists and writers whom he has been supporting financially for the past few years.
Back in May he arranged through the secretary of state to get a passport for his representative [and lover] Mrs. Jeanne Foster, 42, to precede him and arrange meetings with art dealers and artists.
In particular he is looking forward to in-person dinners with…
Constantin Brancusi, 45. Quinn became familiar with the Romanian sculptor’s work when he exhibited in the 1913 Armory Show, which Quinn helped to organize. Quinn has bought two versions of Brancusi’s Mlle. Pogany, and keeps some of his works in the foyer of his Central Park West apartment. As Quinn has written to the grateful artist earlier this year,
1 can’t have too much of a beautiful thing.”
Mlle. Pogany by Constantin Brancusi
Gwen John, 45. Quinn is her number one buyer. He bought one of the many versions of a portrait the Welsh painter did of Mere Marie Poussepin, the founder of the order of nuns Ms. John lives next door to in a Paris suburb. Quinn much prefers her work to that of her brother, painter Augustus John, 43, whom he stopped supporting a few years ago after a dispute.
One version of Mere Marie Poussepin by Gwen John
James Joyce, 39. Quinn has been buying up the manuscript of Joyce’s novel Ulysses as the ex-pat Irishman works on it. And he defended [pro bono, of course] the American magazine, The Little Review, which dared to publish “obscene” excerpts of the novel. Quinn is quite proud that he got the publishers off with a $100 fine and no jail sentence.
Now it’s time to put legal issues behind him and enjoy Paris.
Scofield Thayer, 31, is in Paris en route to Vienna. He feels he can continue his position as editor and co-owner of the New York-based TheDial literary magazine while he is living in Europe. The international postal service and Western Union should make it easy enough for him to work remotely.
The foreign editor of TheDial, American ex-patriate poet Ezra Pound, 35, is hosting Thayer for his few days in Paris. Pound came to visit him at his hotel, the Hotel Continental on rue de Castiglione, and brought along another American poet, E. E. Cummings, 26, whom Scofield had known at Harvard. Cummings recently returned to Paris and is working on a novel about his experiences as an ambulance driver here during the Great War.
Hotel Continental on rue de Castiglione
Most interesting, however, was the visit Pound arranged to another American writer, Gertrude Stein, 47, and her partner Alice B. Toklas, 44, at 27 rue de Fleurus. They had just met one of TheDial’s main contributors, Sherwood Anderson, 44, author of the successful collection of stories, Winesburg, Ohio. Stein and Toklas discussed with Thayer how impressed they are with Anderson, who is a big fan of Gertrude’s work.
Now Scofield is ready to move on to the next leg of his trip: To Vienna and psychoanalysis treatment with Sigmund Freud, 65.
Vanity Fair managing editor Edmund Wilson, 26, after staying a few days in a hotel, has moved to this pension at 16 rue de Four.
16 rue du Four
Since arriving in Paris last month, Wilson has seen the object of his affections, American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, 29, a few times. But it is clear to him that she is no longer interested. Edna has told him about her new lover, “a big red-haired British journalist,” as Wilson writes to his friend back at Vanity Fair, John Peale Bishop, also 29. He tells Bishop that Edna
looks well…and has a new distinction of dress, but she can no longer intoxicate me with her beauty, or throw bombs into my soul.”
Time to move on.
Over at the bookstore Shakespeare & Co. on rue Dupuytren, American owner Sylvia Beach, 34, has said goodbye to her new friend, novelist Anderson, whom she introduced to Stein and Toklas earlier this summer. He and his wife are headed to London and then back home to Chicago.
Sylvia also feels it’s time to leave Paris, but just for a bit. She and her partner Adrienne Monnier, 29, are planning a short holiday. But first Sylvia wants to settle her bookshop in its new location.
This summer I am talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at the University of Pittsburgh. In the fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher 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 available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.
Irish novelist James Joyce, 39, has been working hard to finish his controversial novel Ulysses. But now he is in incredible pain.
A few nights ago he was, as usual, out drinking with one of his supporters [financially and morally], American writer and owner of the Contact press, Robert McAlmon, 25. The two ex-pats were making the rounds of their favorite drinking places when Joyce suddenly fainted and went limp.
McAlmon had brought him back home here, where he’s been living for the past month, down the long gravelly driveway through the big iron gate, which requires a huge metal key.
71 rue de Cardinal Lemoine
The next morning, Joyce woke up with a severe attack of iritis. The pressure inside his eye had him rolling on the floor in pain.
Even having a light on is painful. Joyce is now forced to rest and recuperate in this terrific third-floor apartment belonging to one of his French fans, the poet Valery Larbaud, also 39. Larbaud is on holiday until October, so has offered this luxurious flat rent-free to the Joyce family. Of the 22 different addresses the Joyces have had while James has been working on Ulysses, this is definitely the most posh.
Joyce has been making good progress, but he’s not sure that he will make the announced October publication date for his novel. This most recent eye attack will set him back. And there is another hold up from the printer. They are running out of certain letters that appear more in English than they do in French—e, h, w and y. Who knew?
This summer I am talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at the University of Pittsburgh. In the fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Ireland and England before the Great War in the Osher 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 available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.
Harriet Shaw Weaver, 44, publisher and owner of the Egoist Press, is somewhat relieved after reading the letter from Irish novelist James Joyce, 39, living in Paris, one of the writers she has been supporting for years.
A bit ago, two other writers she supports, Englishman Wyndham Lewis, 38, and American Robert McAlmon, 26, had both mentioned to her that their mutual friend Joyce uses some of the money she sends to him to fund a “lavish” lifestyle, meaning most evenings he ends up quite drunk. And she thought that she has been helping out his family.
Harriet is no prude. She is an active suffragist and has used her family inheritance [her maternal grandfather did quite well in the cotton trade] to support writers and artists, through the Egoist magazine and now her Egoist Press, as well as personally financing many creative individuals. She published excerpts from Joyce’s Ulysses in her magazine even though they had to be printed abroad because English printers wouldn’t touch the “obscene” text.
Early issue of The Egoist
But she wrote to Joyce earlier this month to express her concerns about his drinking.
Harriet is pleased with his response.
Joyce writes that there are lots of rumors about the way he lives. He’s a spy. He’s addicted to cocaine. He’s lazy. And mad. And even dying.
Joyce describes the technique he is using to write the scandalous novel Ulysses:
I have not read a work of literature for several years. My head is full of pebbles and rubbish and broken matches and bits of glass picked up ’most everywhere. The task I set myself technically in writing a book from 18 different points of view and in as many styles, all apparently unknown or undiscovered by my fellow tradesmen…would be enough to upset anyone’s mental balance. I want to finish the book and try to settle my entangled material affairs. After that I want a good long rest in which to forget Ulysses completely. I now end this long rambling shambling speech having said nothing of the darker aspects of my detestable character.”
However, at the end of the letter, Joyce confesses about his drinking,
Yet you are probably right.”
Harriet is not sure. She and Joyce have been corresponding almost daily since she published his novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man four years ago. Once she has begun to support an artist, she has never wavered.
But should she continue to invest her capital in an Irishman who drinks so much?
This summer I am talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at the University of Pittsburgh. In the fall I will be giving presentations about writers’ salons in Dublin and London before the Great War in the Osher program at Carnegie-Mellon University.
We interrupt our usual chronicle of what was happening 100 years ago to commemorate “Dalloway Day.”
Not “Bloomsday” which celebrates June 16th as the day on which James Joyce set his novel Ulysses . But the third Wednesday in June which is the day on which Virginia Woolf set her novel Mrs. Dalloway . This year, they happen to be the same day.
Below is a blog I wrote about the Dalloway Day events in London that I attended in 2017. If you are interested in the celebrations being held this year, click here. I particularly recommend the panel this evening featuring my “such friends” Emily Midorikawa and Emma Clair Sweeney, talking about Woolf’s friendship with Katherine Mansfield.
As I recommend to all my visiting American friends, when in the UK, time your train trip so you can take along some lunch from M&S Simply Food, ubiquitous in train stations here. My preference is carrot sticks with reduced fat humous and salmon pasta salad. Yum.
So I stocked up and took off for London a few Saturdays ago to take part in my first “Dalloway Day,” commemorating the day on which Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel, Mrs. Dalloway, is set. The Irish all over the world have been celebrating “Bloomsday” based on James Joyce’s Ulysses for over 50 years. Now it’s Virginia’s turn.
Original cover of Mrs. Dalloway, designed by Vanessa Bell
The Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain is sponsoring this day, which includes a walk through some of the novel’s settings, a discussion of the book, and a 1920s party at the Bloomsbury Waterstones. I signed up for the whole package.
On one of the hottest days of the year, I took the train from Birmingham New Street to Euston station, and then the Underground to the appointed meeting place, outside the Regent’s Park Tube.
Waiting for the Underground lift, literally a breath of fresh air came wafting through. The woman next to me, about my age, said,
Oh! That feels great. It’s so hot.”
I nodded in agreement.
Watching her walk up the stairs in front of me, I realized she was wearing a blue flower print dress and lovely straw hat. Aha. Another Dalloway Day participant, I surmised.
As we reached the street at the top, we both laughed. Standing just a few feet away was a gaggle of Dalloway Day fans. About 20 women “of a certain age” in flowered dresses or skirts, straw hats—they all looked just like me! No trouble finding this group.
The walk was led by Jean Moorcroft Wilson, who obviously was a lot more familiar with the book and Virginia than I am, having read it years ago as part of my research. I actually have much more vivid memories of the Vanessa Redgrave film, which I’ve used in my presentations.
Jean was dressed in the full Dalloway, including a vintage dress and hat, complemented by darling low-heeled black shoes with straps. Very 1920s. She’d obviously done this many times before.
Jean pointed out that there is debate as to when Dalloway Day actually is. Whereas Joyce clearly set Ulysses on 16th June, 1904, the day of his first date with his eventual wife, Nora Barnacle, Woolf ‘s novel says “mid-June.” However, by lining up events in the book with cricket games and the Ascot races, most scholars have settled on the third Wednesday in June. But—this year, we are celebrating on Saturday, 17th June. So more of us can come.
The unusually warm weather—it’s actually been hot; Miami hot, not just England hot—didn’t slow us down a bit. After a stop in Regent’s Park, Jeanne walked us over to Fitzroy Square, where Virginia lived from 1907 until 1911 with her brother Adrian. Their sister Vanessa had married art critic Clive Bell and kicked the siblings out when the newlyweds took over the Gordon Square house, where we headed next.
My own Bloomsbury walkactually takes the reverse route, starting in Gordon Square and then over to Fitzroy Square.
Here’s me on one of my walks pointing out the house at #29 where Virginia and Adrian lived:
At Waterstone’s, we sat in a circle, sipping refreshing flavored ice water. Jean and Maggie Humm of the Woolf Society led us through an interesting discussion of the book. My research was on the relationships among the creative people in the Bloomsbury group, but wasn’t focused on their works—books, paintings, etc. This discussion brought new insights about the connections for me to incorporate into my future presentations.
And I learned that there is a website that maps all the walks of the characters in the book—Clarissa, Peter, Septimus and Rezia—showing how they interconnect.
For the 1920s party, I was planning to switch to Dorothy Parker mode, and so had tucked my red feather boa into my travel bag. But not many others were quite so dedicated to the flapper look, so I decided to stay in Bloomsbury garb.
This past week, I had another tax-deductible reason to go to London. Paula Maggio, better known to many of you as “Blogging Woolf”’ was visiting from the States to attend the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf. We made plans to meet up and she wanted to try the Dalloway Terrace at the Bloomsbury Hotel. We had a fabulous lunch of pasta and prosecco, treated ourselves to dessert, and took a peek at the 1920s-style Bloomsbury Club downstairs.
Dalloway Terrace at the Bloomsbury Hotel, photo by Paula Maggio
Paula had also heard about a life-size statue of Virginia at Kings College, where Woolf had studied classics in her early days. A bit of Googling and walking led us to the Woolf Building. A sign said it was locked due to increased security, but when the guard saw our noses pressed against the glass, he let us in.
There she was, encased behind plexiglass, big as life, holding a copy of A Room of One’s Own, in a wardrobe that was, as Paula said, “a closet of her own.”
Surrounded by large quotes from Virginia’s works, and photos of her, it makes a fitting entrance for the College’s School of English.
Virginia Woolf statue, Kings College, photo by Paula Maggio
I would definitely add both of these places—Dalloway Terrace and the Kings College statue—to my Bloomsbury walk. Here’s a review of the restaurant by one of last year’s conference participants..
Heading back towards Euston station, Paula and I stopped by Woburn Walk, where the poet William Butler Yeats lived at the same time that Virginia and her siblings were moving into Gordon Square, just a few blocks away.
These intersections of time, place and characters are what interest me most. I can picture an aerial view of north London in 1907, as the Irish poet walks past the Stephens sisters, on their way over to enjoy a stroll through Regent’s Park.
Might make an interesting structure for a biography. Watch this space.
Harvard undergraduate Virgil Thomson, 24, is thrilled to be headed to Paris for the first time on the European tour of the Harvard Glee Club—the first such extensive tour by any American university choral group. He’s the accompanist, but also an understudy for the conductor, Dr. Archibald T. “Doc” Davison, 37, who has led the 63-year-old choir for the past two years.
But what Virgil is looking forward to most is staying on in Paris after the Glee Club goes back to America.
This tour came about because French history professor Bernard Fay, 28, who had been at Harvard, managed to get the French Foreign Office to issue an official invitation to the Club.
In addition to meeting their steamer when they dock at 2 am, Fay will be able to introduce Virgil to those in Paris who he needs to know, particularly French composers such as Darius Milhaud, 28, and Francis Poulenc, 22.
Thanks to a teaching fellowship, Virgil will be staying on in Paris for a full year to study composition with renowned composer and teacher Nadia Boulanger, 33. What an opportunity. He’ll be staying with a French family at first, but then hopes to find his own flat near Boulanger’s studio on the Right Bank.
Artist Marcel Duchamp, 33, on the other hand, is heading for home.
Marcel has been living in and around New York City for the past six years. After his painting Nude Descending a Staircase was such a big hit at the 1913 Armory Show, he was able to finance a trip to the States and leverage his newfound fame to acquire artist friends and valuable patrons, Walter, 43, and Louise Arensberg, 42. As owners of the building where he has a studio, the Arensbergs agreed to take one of Duchamp’s major paintings, The Large Glass, in lieu of rent.
Duchamp’s English wasn’t good at first, but supporting himself by giving French lessons helped to improve it quickly.
Marcel feels it’s time to go back home to Paris. Even just for a few months.
The Large Glass by Marcel Duchamp
After a stop in London, the Fitzgeralds are now in Paris.
In England, Scott, 24, wasn’t particularly impressed with his fellow Scribner’s novelist John Galsworthy, 53, whom he met at his home in Hampstead.
Scott and his wife Zelda aren’t really impressed with Paris either. The managers of the Hotel Saint-James-et-d’Albany where they are staying complain when Zelda blocks the elevator door on their floor so it will be available for her.
The real problem with this trip, though, is that Zelda is sick all the time. And pregnant.
American novelist Sherwood Anderson, 44, and his wife, Tennessee, 47, on the other hand, are having a ball on their first trip to Paris. They’ve seen a terrific exhibit of work by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, 39. Visited Chartres. Met American ex-patriate poet Ezra Pound, 35. They were more impressed by the Chartres cathedral than they were by Pound.
What Sherwood is really looking forward to, however, is using the letter of introduction he just received from the American owner of Shakespeare & Co., Sylvia Beach, 34, to meet her friend and fellow American, writer Gertrude Stein, 47. He has read some of Stein’s pieces in the “little mags” that he’s found back in Chicago and has learned so much from her radical style.
In exchange, Sherwood is helping Sylvia send out prospectuses to all the Americans he can think of, soliciting subscriptions for her upcoming publication of Ulysses, the scandalous novel by the Irish ex-patriate, James Joyce, 39.
Prospectus for Ulysses
Recent Yale graduate Thornton Wilder, 24, and his sister, Isabel, 21, both writers, have been in Paris since the beginning of the month. During his recent eight-month residency at the American Academy in Rome, where he studied archaeology and Italian, Thornton started on his first novel, The Cabala.
Now that they are in Paris, Thornton and Isabel are signed up as members of Shakespeare & Co.’s lending library and they have made friends with Sylvia, thanks to a letter of introduction he carried from his friend, poet Stephen Vincent Benet, 22.
Sylvia has offered to introduce Thornton to Joyce, whom he has seen in her shop.
Thornton refused. Joyce always looks as though he doesn’t want to be interrupted.
Right now, Thornton’s biggest concern is finding a new place to live. The Hotel du Maroc, where they have been since they arrived, is crawling with bedbugs.