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

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

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

W. B. Yeats by J. B. Yeats

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

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

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about Writers Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

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

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

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, August 25, 1921, Thame, Oxfordshire, England

It’s a boy!

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

W. B. and Georgie Yeats

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

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

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

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

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

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I, covering 1920, is available in both print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

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

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

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, June 25, 1921, Berkshire, England; Dundrum, Dublin; and Manhattan, New York City, New York

Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, just turned 56, living in Berkshire, England, with his pregnant wife, is convinced that he has finally gotten his father to agree.

His Dad, painter John Butler “JB” Yeats, 82, has been living in New York City for 13 years. He went over on holiday and just decided to stay. Despite constant entreaties from his son and daughters.

Yeats’ friend, Irish-American lawyer John Quinn, 51, has been looking out for JB, but he’s running out of patience with the older man’s demands. And, with a baby on the way, Willie can’t afford to keep covering Dad’s expenses.

Willie has issued an ultimatum and Quinn is booking JB passage back to Ireland for this fall.

*****

Yeats’ sister Lolly, 53, a publisher and teacher, is thrilled that Dad will be coming to live with her and her sister Lily, 54, an embroiderer, in the Dundrum suburb of south Dublin. They have painted his room and bought him a new bed and mattress.

Lily Yeats at Bedford Park by JB Yeats

Yesterday Lolly wrote to assure her father that in the intervening 13 years, his daughters have changed. They’re no longer irritable and over-tired, and they look forward to just sitting and chatting with him. Their brother, Willie, however, is wondering whether Dad will be able to stick to a curfew.

*****

However.

In Manhattan, JB Yeats is in no humor to go back to his family.

He has just read parts of Willie’s family memoir, “Four Years,” scheduled to appear in The Dial literary magazine. Dad has a big problem with at least one item in the text. Back when the family lived in the Bedford Park neighborhood of West London, young Willie left for two weeks to do some research in Oxford. In the memoir he describes the family as “enraged” at his absence.

Yeats’ family home in Bedford Park

Not the way Dad recalls it. He remembers the loving family being supportive of this overgrown teenager.

Yesterday he wrote to Willie,

As to Lily and Lollie, they were too busy to be ‘enraged’ about anything. Lily working all day…, and Lolly dashing about giving lectures on picture painting and earning close on 300 pounds a year…while both gave all their earnings to the house. And besides all this work, of course, they did the housekeeping and had to contrive things and see to things for their invalid mother…”

He admonishes his son for choosing a career writing plays and establishing Dublin’s Abbey Theatre with Lady Augusta Gregory, 69, and other friends. If he were a good son he would have collaborated with his artist-father, and thereby helped both their careers.

And by the way, Dad isn’t coming back.

The W. B. Yeats Bedford Park Artwork Project, a community-led arts/education charity, is working to install a major contemporary sculpture, the first ever honouring Yeats in Britain, at the former Yeats family home. Find out more here

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is available on Amazon in print and e-book versions. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I am talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at the University of Pittsburgh. This fall, at the Osher program at Carnegie-Mellon University, I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London before the Great War.

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

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

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, May 4, 1921, Dundrum, Dublin

Lily Yeats, 54, co-owner of Cuala Press with her sister, is writing to their father, painter John Butler Yeats, 82, in New York City.

Lily Yeats at Bedford Square, by her father John Butler Yeats

The family has given up begging him to move back home; Lily is writing to vent her fears about the Irish War of Independence which seems to be raging all around her.

The war started with the Easter Rising over five years ago. Since last year the Black and Tans—unemployed war-weary soldiers from the Great War who have been recruited into the Royal Irish Constabulary, the British occupying force—have been violently marauding throughout the country.

The Black and Tans outside a Dublin hotel

Even in this posh Dublin suburb, three lorries of the thugs came racing down a nearby street the other night. The Yeats’ maid had to fall face down on the road to avoid being shot.

At the beginning of the year a British commission published a report strongly criticizing their behavior, and both the British Labour and Liberal parties have lambasted the Conservative government for its policy of violence to the Irish people.

Just this month, Pope Benedict XV, 66, issued a letter urging the

English as well as Irish to calmly consider…some means of mutual agreement.”

The Brits had thought he was going to condemn the rebellion. Now he’s saying that there are bad people on both sides.

A few months ago, Lily’s brother, poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 55, now living safely in Berkshire, England, took part in an Oxford debate condemning the British policy. As he does, Willie spoke while dramatically striding up and down the aisles of the auditorium. It worked. He won the debate in favor of Irish self-government and against British reprisals.

Lily is writing to her Da,

if the present state of affairs goes on, England will have no friends left in Ireland…some say the Crown forces were very drunk—drunk or sober they are ruffians—what will dear England do with them when the time comes—it must come sometime that they have to be disbanded?”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is available on Amazon in both print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I will be talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

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

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

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, March 13, 1921, Shillingford, Berkshire, England

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

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

Shillingford Bridge, Berkshire

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

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

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

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

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

This summer I will be talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

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

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

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, Mid-January, 1921, Dundrum, Dublin; and Oxford, England

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

Lolly Yeats by her father, John Butler Yeats

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. Early this year I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

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

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

What a great trip it has been.

Postcard of the S. S. Megantic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, May, 1920, Algonquin Hotel, 59 West 44th Street, Midtown Manhattan

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

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

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

Alg lobby 2

Algonquin Hotel lobby

Someone has offered to record Yeats for

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

as he describes it.

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

Éamon_de_Valera

Eamon de Valera

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

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

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

And so he stayed.

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

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

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

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

 

 

“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, January 30, 1920, New York City

Irish poet William Butler Yeats, 54, and his wife Georgie, 27, are enjoying the first few days of his American lecture tour. They have left their 11-month old daughter, Annie, back in Dublin with his sisters, and are looking forward to the freedom of traipsing around the United States for the next four months.

Although it is just sinking in that Prohibition started a couple of weeks ago, and they can’t get a drink in this town. Or any town.

Georgie has met her father-in-law, the painter John Butler Yeats, 80, for the first time, and finds him charming. He’s quite enamored of his new daughter-in-law as well, writing to Willie’s sister back in Ireland that Georgie has

no vast depths…[but] endless kindness and sympathy and I fancy a lot of practical talent.”

John Butler Yeats drawing

Chalk drawing of John Butler Yeats

Tonight the Yeatses are probably going to attend the Metropolitan Opera’s Oberon or The Elf King’s Oath, which their friend, Irish-American art collector, John Quinn, 49, has recommended. They are excited about seeing the performance by the fantastic Rosa Ponselle, just turned 23, one of the Met’s top young stars.

Rosa Ponselle

Rosa Ponselle

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

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

In 2020 I will be talking about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and others in both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University’s Osher Lifelong Learning programs.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins and his writers, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.

‘Such Friends’: February, 1922

New York City, February, 1922

 

John Quinn, 51, has received a cable from James Joyce, just turned 40, in Paris:

Ulysses published. Thanks.

Bit of an understatement.

joyce pound ford quinn

James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford, and John Quinn in Paris

 

Quinn has been supporting Joyce financially, legally, and sometimes emotionally, while he was writing the novel. He’d even gone to court for the right of The Little Review to publish ‘obscene’ chapters. Quinn didn’t win that legal battle, but felt that getting the publishers off with a $100 fine was itself a victory.

He cables back right away,

Congratulations publication Ulysses. Best wishes. Write soon.

Then he starts composing an angry letter to the woman who had taken the risk to publish Ulysses, American ex-patriate Sylvia Beach, 35, owner of the Left Bank bookstore, Shakespeare & Co. He is a bit annoyed that she has written to him about Joyce:

If Joyce wants to write to me at any time it is open to him to do so and not through you.

Joyce and Beach at Sh and Co

Sylvia Beach and James Joyce in her bookshop, Shakespeare & Co.

But what has made him even angrier is that in her most recent letter she has asked whether Ulysses’ US copyright is covered by the publication of the chapters in The Little Review.

Quinn reminds her that he has already told Joyce, often, that it is. However, her advertisement for the novel in the magazine might set off the censors again! Now the customs authorities will be watching all the post from Paris to New York.

Quinn paid for his own 14 copies in advance, telling Beach,

They will become my property and then I must be consulted as to how they are to be sent here…[Set them aside] carefully wrapped up, and held subject to my order.

He then suggests ways copies might be smuggled into the US via Canada.

Now Quinn has to focus on his problem right here in New York:  John Butler Yeats, painter and father of his friend, poet William Butler Yeats, 56, whom he has been supporting for the past 14 years of his self-imposed exile in Manhattan, has died, aged 82. Quinn’s ‘assistant’ (and lover), Mrs. Jeanne Foster, 42, has been watching over JB in his lodgings on West 29th Street the past two days, and he succumb in the night.

William_Butler_Yeats_by_John_Butler_Yeats_1900

W B Yeats by his father John Butler Yeats, 1900

john butler yeats self portrait

John Butler Yeats’ self-portrait

Quinn and Foster have to deal with the doctor, the friends, the visitors—and what about the funeral? New York or Dublin?

***

Downtown from Quinn’s 11-room Central Park West apartment, lunch is on at The Algonquin Hotel. For the past three years, the writers and freelancers who work for nearby newspapers and magazines—Life, Vogue, the World—come by to have lunch and trade quips.

Dorothy Parker, 28, nee Rothschild, is trying to calculate if she can afford a half-order of the eggs. Her friends are carefully avoiding discussing her recent suicide attempt. The fact that she had ordered dinner to be delivered from the nearby Alps Restaurant just before she tried to slit her wrists with her husband’s dull razor, makes it more drama than tragedy.

hirshfield alg

The Algonquin Round Table by Al Hirschfeld

Parker’s main supporter, fellow free-lancer and former Vanity Fair writer, Robert Benchley, 32, is one of the few who had come to see her in the hospital. Bench had told her,

Go easy on this suicide stuff. First thing you know, you’ll ruin your health.

parkerbenchley cartoon

Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley

***

Farther down in midtown, in Scribner’s offices on Fifth Avenue, editor Maxwell Perkins, 37, is planning to have a discussion with his current star author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 25.

Fitzgerald’s second novel, The Beautiful and Damned, is about to come out. Perkins feels it is a good follow up to his first, The Far Side of Paradise. Now the editor thinks Fitzgerald could take a different turn, and, discussing the advertising for Damned, Perkins tells him,

We ought to…get away altogether from the flapper idea.

fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Maxwell_Perkins_NYWTS free to use

Maxwell Perkins

***

Farther down Manhattan, at JB Yeats’ rooms in Chelsea, Quinn and Foster are beginning to sort through the late painter’s belongings, waiting for instructions as to whether JB should be sent to Ireland or laid to rest here in his adopted home, New York.

Quinn is composing a telegram to the Yeats sisters in Dublin:

Regret your father passed away this morning 7 o’clock…The end came in sleep without pain or struggle. After conference please cable desires about burial…Everything was done for his comfort and peace of mind and he had best possible medical attention.

Next, he sends the details to the painter’s son, Willie, currently in Oxford, adding,

He fought bravely for life but it was almost hopeless since Wednesday. His mind was unclouded and his spirits buoyant until the end.

440px-Jeanne_Robert_Foster,_by_John_Butler_Yeats

Jeanne Foster by John Butler Yeats

johnquinn

John Quinn

 

Dublin, February, 1922

 

In Dundrum, south Dublin, Lily, 55, and Lolly Yeats, 53, read the telegram they had been dreading from their American friend, John Quinn.

Lily and Lolly Yeats

Lily and Lolly Yeats

They knew that Quinn had worried that the old man would die ‘on his watch.’ Right now, they feel nothing but gratitude for all Quinn has done for him.

Of course, they will need to check with their brother Willie in Oxford, but agree that it is best to advise Quinn to handle the funeral arrangements in New York.

 

London, February, 1922

 

Everyone has the flu.

The Times reports that 13,000 people in England and Wales have died since Christmas. They caution that one of the symptoms is a ‘tendency to “feel the heart”—ie., to palpitations,’ and that anyone suspecting they have contracted the disease should take to their beds at once. Just last month they had reported that Pope Benedict XV, 67, had died from influenza that turned into pneumonia.

Pope Benedict xv

Pope Benedict XV

***

T. S. Eliot, 33, is trying to get his new long poem published. As soon as he returned home last month, reinvigorated by a three-month leave spent in Switzerland, he had been laid low with the influenza for a good ten days. At least that meant time away from his dreaded office at Lloyds Bank so he could work on finishing off The Waste Land.

Eliot has been corresponding with The Dial magazine in the States, but is leery about the deal on offer. He feels he had been burned a few years ago by a contract with Alfred Knopf that John Quinn had negotiated for him. Now he is using his friend Ezra Pound, 36, as a go between.

T.S.-Eliot-and-Ezra-Pound

T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound

***

In the southwest suburb of Richmond, Virginia Woolf, just turned 40, is devastated that she is spending the first months of this year as she had the previous summer—in bed. She confides to her diary,

 I have taken it into my head that I shan’t live till 70…Suppose, I said to myself the other day[,] this pain over my heart wrung me out like a dish cloth & left me dead?

The flu had hit her just a few weeks before her 40th birthday, which made her acutely aware of the passage of time:

I feel time racing like a film at the Cinema. I try to stop it. I prod it with my pen. I try to pin it down.’

Her husband Leonard, 41, however supportive, insists on following the doctor’s instructions that she must stay in bed. But Virginia wants to be out in the cold air, walking, which means writing, because she works out her sentences in her head as she makes her way through the London streets.

Va and Leon

Virginia and Leonard Woolf

Virginia is thinking of experimenting with a tale of a woman walking through the city while preparing for a party, the passage of the hours marked by Big Ben’s bongs.

Her sister, painter Vanessa Bell, 42, hasn’t let her children’s flu keep her from her work. She is in Paris, again, for a painting holiday. Virginia writes to her,

For Gods [sic] sake make friends with Joyce. I particularly want to know what he’s like.’

She’d read parts of Ulysses when it had been submitted to her and Leonard for publication by their Hogarth Press. She can’t imagine what kind of working class man could write like that.

Va and V in Firle Park 1911

Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell

 

Paris, February, 1922

 

Newlyweds Hadley, 30, and Ernest Hemingway, 22, are back from a Switzerland skiing trip and settling in to their new fourth floor walk-up apartment at 74 rue du Cardinal Lemoine.

Hadley and Ernest Hemingway

Hadley and Ernest Hemingway

Ernest has taken an office on the Rue Mouffetard, a pleasant five-minute walk away. Going there on a regular schedule is the only way he is going to get any writing done.

After all, that’s why they came at the end of last year. Paris is so cheap, the exchange rate so good, and between his salary as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Daily Star, and his wife’s family money, they can afford an apartment, a studio, and dinner at local cafes every night. Great French food is 50 US cents for a meal; the wine only 60 centimes for a whole bottle.

Ernest is eager to get started on his writing career, and is planning to make good use of the contacts he had been given last summer back in Chicago by Sherwood Anderson, 45, author of the hit novel, Winesburg, Ohio.

Sherwood anderson and wife

Sherwood and Tennessee Anderson

Anderson and his wife, Tennessee, 48, had just come back to the States from Paris and encouraged the young Hemingways to follow in their footsteps. He gave Ernest an all-important letter of introduction to fellow American writer Gertrude Stein, celebrating her 48th birthday. Ernest and Hadley are gathering the courage to visit Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, 44, soon.

Gert and Alice with the paintings

Alice B. Toklas and her partner Gertrude Stein with Picassos

 

***

Another expatriate, Kansas-born Robert McAlmon, 25, is in Paris, also with his new wealthy wife, Bryher, 27. As well as supporting himself as a writer with her inheritance, McAlmon intends to use her family money to publish other writers on the Left Bank.

McAlmon and Bryher

Bryher and Robert McAlmon

Soon after he came to Paris two years ago, McAlmon had struck up a close friendship with an Irishman, James Joyce. McAlmon had supported his new friend while he was struggling with his big novel, both financially and practically by helping with the typing of the manuscript.

But now that publication day—and Joyce’s big birthday—is nearing, McAlmon chickens out. He takes off for the Riviera. He figures he’ll just buy Joyce a present.

***

Standing on the platform at the Gare du Lyon, Sylvia Beach is waiting for the Paris-Dijon Express, due in at 7 am.

When she’d told Joyce that her printer in Dijon guaranteed to put the parcel in the post on 1st February, Joyce was not pleased. He insisted that the package be put on the train so the conductor can hand deliver it to Sylvia personally.

As the train approaches, Beach is working out her next steps in her head. She will get a taxi to Joyce’s apartment, to give him the 40th birthday present that he wants the most, the first copy of Ulysses. There is a small party planned for tonight at one of Joyce’s favorite restaurants, Ferraris. He and his partner, Nora Barnacle, 37, and a few friends will be celebrating his accomplishment, seven years in the making, the result of his relentless vision and the support of his family, Sylvia Beach…and John Quinn.

jas joyce sylvia beach

American Sylvia and her Irishman on rue de l’Odeon

K and T at rue de l'Odeon

American Kathleen and her Irishman on rue de l’Odeon