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

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

Benito Mussolini

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

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

Bernard Berenson

*****

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

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

Count Harry Kessler

*****

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

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I through III, covering 1920 through 1922 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Early next year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, and about The Literary 1920s in Paris and New York City at the Osher program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

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

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