“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, mid-October, 1921, Shakespeare and Company, 12 rue de l’Odeon, Paris; New York City; London

Well, she lost that bet.

American ex-patriate Sylvia Beach, 34, owner of this bookstore, had sent a subscription form to legendary Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, 65, in London. His former secretary had assured Sylvia that the irascible old man is quite generous. So Sylvia kindly asked him if he would like to subscribe in advance for one of the deluxe editions of the novel, Ulysses, by his countryman James Joyce, 39, which she is planning to publish this fall.

Joyce has never liked Shaw, referring to him as “a born preacher.” He warned Sylvia that the answer will be no. So they bet on it. A silk handkerchief for Beach if Shaw says yes; a box of Voltigeur cigars for Joyce if Shaw says no.

Sylvia Beach and James Joyce

Today she receives a letter saying that Ulysses, which Shaw has read excerpts of in the Egoist magazine, is “a revolting record of a disgusting phase of civilization…but a truthful one.” He assumes Beach herself must be

a young barbarian beglamored by the excitements and enthusiasms that art stirs up in passionate material, but to me…it is all hideously real.”

Shaw compares Joyce’s work to making “a cat cleanly by rubbing its nose in its own filth.”

He ends by saying,

I am an elderly Irish gentleman,..If you imagine that any Irishman, much less an elderly one, would pay 150Fr for a book, you little know my countrymen.”

Sylvia pays up to Joyce.

*****

To raise more money for the publication of Ulysses, and the support of Joyce, Sylvia has written once again to one of his patrons, Irish-American New York attorney John Quinn, 51, pleading,

I give him everything I can spare but as you may imagine my shop has not been in existence long enough to support [Joyce’s] family of four people as well as myself…It is up to all of us who want the most important book of today to appear to come to the help of its author.”

John Quinn

This only angers Quinn, so he checks with another of Joyce’s benefactors, American poet Ezra Pound, about to turn 36, in London. Quinn says he’ll send the money if Pound thinks Joyce really needs it, but

I’ll be damned if I’ll do it because Miss Beach asks for it.”

Pound assures him that Joyce isn’t starving. Quinn doesn’t send the money.

“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.

At the end of the month 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.

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.

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, 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, September, 1921, Central Park West, New York City, New York

John Quinn is still fuming.

A few days ago, the 51-year old lawyer was quoted in the New York Times calling the protest against the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s first exhibit of modern French painting, “Ku Klux criticism.” He meant it. Still does.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Even the Times can’t determine who is behind the four-page pamphlet,

A Protest Against the Present Exhibit of Degenerate ‘Modernistic’ Works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art [by] An Anonymous Committee of Citizens and Supporters.”

Here’s what these self-appointed critics have to say:

This ‘Modernistic’ degenerate cult is simply the Bolshevic philosophy applied to art…The real cult of ‘Modernism’ began with a small group of neurotic Ego-Maniacs in Paris who styled themselves “Satanists”—worshippers of Satan—the God of Ugliness…It is understandable that the Museum should decide, in the interest of public Enlightenment, to lend its galleries for the Exhibition of such Art Monstrocities [sic] in order to give the public an opportunity to see…specimens of so-called ‘Art’ which has been boosted into notoriety in Europe and now here, by the most vulgar, crafty and brazen methods of advertisement by the European speculators in Art…[But] the Trustees should publicly…disclaim all intention of lending the prestige of the Museum in support of the propaganda for Bolshevistic Art, which is repudiated by the majority of our artists and citizens.”

This is Quinn’s own collection they are criticizing. He has leant 26 pieces to the show—modestly titled “Loan Exhibition of Impressionist and Post-impressionist Paintings”—including Cezanne’s Madame Cezanne in a Red Armchair and Van Gogh’s Portrait of the Artist. One of his fellow collectors has even told Quinn how jealous he is of his pieces in the exhibit.

Madame Cezanne in a Red Armchair by Paul Cezanne

The American Art News gave the exhibit a positive review when it opened back in May. But the New York World called it “dangerous” and singled out one of Quinn’s Gauguins as an “odious Bolshevik work.”

Portrait of the Artist by Vincent Van Gogh

Quinn and Lilly P. Bliss, 57, along with some other New York patrons, had negotiated with the Museum to host this show, and Quinn thinks that, if anything, it is too conservative. They have included Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, 39, for example, but none of his Cubist work.

Quinn and Bliss had collaborated before, to introduce the American public to contemporary art at The Armory Show. It was a huge success. But eight years later self-righteous Philistines are still protesting in print.

This summer the Museum hosted a solo show of drawings by a woman! Is anyone protesting that?, Quinn asks.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is 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.

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.

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, 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, early August, 1921, en route to London; and back in Paris

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.”

Nadia Boulanger’s studio, 36 rue Ballu

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I, covering 1920, is 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.

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.

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

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, July 27, 1921, 12 rue de l’Odeon, Paris

Everything is fitting in just right.

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.

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

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

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, late July, 1921, en route to Paris

Everyone’s coming to Paris…

On board ship, steaming from the United States to France, New York artist Man Ray, 30, is looking forward to his new life in Paris.

In a couple of days, once he docks and takes a train to the Gare St. Lazare, his French friend, fellow artist Marcel Duchamp, about to turn 34, will be there to meet him.

Ray’s relocation is being funded by a Swiss-American collector he met through the Daniel Gallery in Manhattan. Ferdinand Howald, 65, is also supplying a $50 monthly allowance through the end of the year.

Lampshade by Man Ray

Ray [actually, Emmanuel Radnitzky] and Duchamp have been friends and chess rivals since Duchamp arrived in New York about six years ago. They have worked on projects separately and together, including one issue of a magazine, New York Dada. Ray has been making a living photographing the acquisitions of collectors such as Howald and Irish-American lawyer John Quinn, 51. Duchamp decided to move back home to France some months ago.

Last year, Ray, Duchamp and American artist and heiress, Katherine Dreier, 43, founded Societe Anonyme, the “Museum of Modern Art,” to present exhibits, symposiums and lectures. Dreier has been doing all the organizing and promoting.

Untitled, 12/11/03, 2:53 PM, 16C, 3450×4776 (600+0), 100%, AIA repro tone, 1/50 s, R58.9, G46.8, B59.3

Katherine Dreier

Recently. Ray gave a lecture for the Societe about Dada. As soon as he finished, Dreier got up, stood next to him, and told the audience she would now speak about modern art seriously.

Really.

When Howald offered him the opportunity to relocate and establish his career in Paris, he jumped at it. Time to leave New York behind…

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

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

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, July, 1921, en route to and in Paris

Everyone’s coming to Paris…

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 The Dial 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 The Dial, 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 The Dial’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.

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

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

“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, early May, 1921, en route from New York City to Paris

Eleanor Beach, 59, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, is enjoying her crossing. She’s looking forward to seeing her daughters—she calls them her “chicks”—who live in Europe now.

But Eleanor is concerned about the precious parcel in her luggage.

Her adventurous daughter Sylvia, 34, has not only opened her own business, a bookstore on the Left Bank of Paris called Shakespeare & Co., but now she’s become a publisher too. She’s offered to publish the scandalous novel, Ulysses, by Irish ex-patriate writer James Joyce, 39. Earlier this year, a court in New York declared excerpts which appeared in a magazine to be obscene, so no decent publisher will touch it.

Sylvia snapped up the opportunity.

A wealthy New York lawyer, John Quinn, 51, is buying copies of the handwritten manuscript to keep some cash flowing to Joyce. Just last month he received in the mail the text of the “Circe” section of the novel.

James Joyce’s “Circe” manuscript

Good thing. Back in Paris, one of the many typists working on the book had her copy seized by her outraged husband and thrown into the fire! Apparently he agreed with the New York court. The typist salvaged what she could, but Joyce and Beach implored Quinn to send his copy back so it can be typed.

That’s where Eleanor comes in. For the past few weeks she has been calling Quinn asking if he would entrust her with the manuscript to bring along on her voyage over.

He has consistently said no. Over and over again. And, as she pointed out to her daughter, he used “language unfit” for a minister’s wife like Mrs. Beach.

Finally, the rude man agreed to have the pages of the manuscript photographed so Mrs. Beach could take the pictures with her instead.

Eleanor is well aware of the importance of the parcel in the luggage which she is bringing to Paris.

“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 will be talking about The Literary 1920s in Paris and New York in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

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