“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, late June, 1921, 74 Gloucester Place, Marylebone, London

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.

Wyndham Lewis

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?

“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. 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.

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, Christmas Eve, December 24, 1920, 8 rue Dupuytren, Left Bank, Paris

It’s been a good year for American ex-patriate bookstore owner Sylvia Beach, 33.

Her shop, Shakespeare & Co., has been open here for more than a year now, despite economic uncertainty in the city. She wrote recently to her sister back in New Jersey:

My business is maintaining itself in spite of crashes all about. The Bon Marche, the Louvre, the Printemps, different automobile manufacturers and other goods are tottering on the brink. The Galeries [Lafayette] are very low indeed they do say. No one will buy anything till the prices drop and the manufacturers and shops are left with floods of stuff on their hands which they would rather hold on to than sell at a sacrifice—naturellement.”

Galeries Lafayette Catalogue

She has seen an increase in both the subscribers to her lending library and the other American and British ex-patriates who gather in her shop.

Beach has taken on one particular Irish writer, James Joyce, 38, as a special project. She loved his novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and has been supporting him now that he is working on a formidable opus, Ulysses.

This year it has been serialized in a “little mag” in New York City, The Little Review, but issues have been confiscated by the authorities and the publisher and editor are awaiting trial on obscenity charges!

From talking with Joyce, Sylvia knows that the magazine’s lawyer, John Quinn, 50, who buys up pieces of the original manuscript as Joyce writes it, is trying to convince the stubborn Irishman to withdraw his novel from The Little Review, and have a legitimate American publisher—like Huebsch or Boni and Liveright—bring out a private edition of the whole work when it is finished. This would be treated differently under the law, as it wouldn’t be sent through the mail, as the magazine is.

Joyce is having none of it. He sends cryptic cables to Quinn, written in code, and Quinn telegraphs back, exasperated.

Today, Beach has arranged a special meeting for Joyce.

Sylvia and her partner, Adrienne Monnier, 28, who owns the nearby French language bookshop, La Maison des Amis des Livres, have been trying to introduce Joyce into the literary life of Paris. Today they have invited Valery Larbaud, 39, the posh French poet, who recently gave a talk in Adrienne’s store, to meet Joyce. Larbaud was impressed by Portrait, which he read on Sylvia’s recommendation, and has expressed a desire to meet the author.

James Joyce, Sylvia Beach, and Adrienne Monnier in Shakespeare & Co.

Larbaud has many influential friends in the French literary establishment, and Sylvia and Adrienne think the two men will hit it off.

Tomorrow, they are going with Larbaud to an elegant midnight Christmas party with some of their other French friends, including the well-known poet Leon-Paul Fargue, 44, and the novelist Luc Durtain, 39.

Sylvia has already made her New Year’s resolutions which will make 1921 even better:  No more coffee, tea or cigarettes. Lots more nights at the Ballets Russes and Comedie Francaise.

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

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 next year I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

My 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.

“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, November 24, 1920, 31 Nassau Street, Manhattan, New York City, and rue de l’Universite, Paris

In his Manhattan law offices, John Quinn, 50, is stumped by the telegram he received yesterday from Irish novelist James Joyce, 38, in Paris.

SCOTTS  TETTOJA  MOIEDURA  GEIZLSUND.  JOYCE”

Quinn sent his law clerk out to find some kind of code manual they could use to decipher it, and they have come up with:

You will be receiving a letter upon this subject in a few days giving information and my views pretty fully. I think a little delay will not be disadvantageous.”

Quinn’s a bit disappointed, to say the least. He had written an urgent letter to Joyce almost a month ago, firmly telling him to contact The Little Review magazine and withdraw the rights to serialize his work in progress, Ulysses.

In the past year or so, the issues of the magazine carrying chapters of Ulysses have been seized, burnt, and now confiscated by the New York district attorney in preparation for an upcoming trial on the grounds of obscenity.

Quinn is convinced that the DA might drop the charges if Ulysses is withdrawn from the magazine. He cables Joyce that he wants legal custody of the manuscript before an upcoming meeting he has arranged with publisher Ben Huebsch, 44, who four years ago published the American editions of Joyce’s Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Quinn is sure that Huebsch will publish the full novel in a privately printed edition, which would be immune from prosecution.

Ben Huebsch

*****

In his freezing cold Paris hotel room, with a shawl wrapped around his head for warmth, James Joyce responds by letter to Quinn’s entreaties.

He points out that he has been working on Ulysses for six years now, at twenty different addresses, this most recent being the coldest. Having heard very little about the recent court case, Joyce tells Quinn that he has assumed that The Little Review is no longer being published—there’s been no issue since the one in July-August which was confiscated—and so there is no need for him to withdraw the rights.

In previous letters, Joyce had reminded Quinn that Huebsch had talked to him about publishing Ulysses before, and actually threatened to bring out a pirated edition in the States if Joyce had his novel published in Europe. Joyce doesn’t think the manuscript’s current legal troubles will put Mr. Huebsch off from publishing the full book.

Now he just wants to get back to writing. Joyce is planning to finish the novel next year and then take a whole year off. Right now he is on the ninth draft of the “Circe” episode.

“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@gypsyteacher.com.

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 in 2021 I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

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

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, July 11, 1920, 34 rue du Bois de Bologne, Neuilly, Paris

Sylvia Beach, 33, American ex-patriate bookshop owner, does not want to be at this dinner party.

Her partner, Adrienne Monnier, 28, owner of the Left Bank’s other most popular bookshop, has been invited by the host, French poet Andre Spire, soon to turn 52, whom Adrienne knows well.

But Sylvia doesn’t. Nevertheless, Adrienne is persuasive.

34 Rue du Bois de Boulogne

34 rue du Bois de Bologne

As Sylvia is planning a quick exit, Spire comes over and whispers to her,

The Irish writer James Joyce is here.”

That puts a different twist on it.

American poet Ezra Pound, 34, who is lounging in an armchair in a velvet jacket and open-collared blue shirt, has made sure that everyone in Paris knows that the amazing James Joyce, 38, is in town.

Beach has admired Joyce’s work—from Dubliners to Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Pound has spent the past month on a public relations campaign to line up ahead of time everything the Joyce family will need to live in Paris:  first a hotel room, then a free apartment for three months, then a French translator for his work.

Beach chats with Nora Barnacle, 36, Joyce’s partner for the last 16 years and mother of their two children. Nora is thrilled to be able to speak English with someone; for the past 10 years in Trieste they’ve all been speaking Italian.

During a dinner of cold cuts and free-flowing wine, Joyce refuses any alcohol by turning his glass upside down. He’s determined to not drink until 8 pm in the evenings.

Afterwards, Sylvia walks into the library and finds Joyce leaning against a bookcase; thin, a bit stooped. She cautiously approaches him, and, offering her hand, asks,

Is this the great James Joyce?”

He limply shakes her hand saying, in his Dublin lilt,

James Joyce.”

They talk about his family’s move to Paris and she notices that his right eye looks odd, distorted by the thicker right lens of his glasses.

He asks her,

And what do you do in Paris, Miss Beach?”

He is enchanted by the name of her bookshop, Shakespeare & Co., and writes it down, along with the address, in his notebook held very close to his eyes. He tells her that he will visit soon.

Adrienne finds Sylvia and says that the guests are leaving. Beach shakes Joyce’s hand again.

As she is walking out, Spire asks Sylvia if she has been bored. Beach replies,

Bored? I have just met James Joyce!”

Andre Spire

Andre Spire

Thanks to Paris resident Gregory Grefenstette for help in pinpointing the location of this meeting.

“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.

This fall I will be talking about writers’ salons before and after the Great War in Ireland, England, France and America in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at University of Pittsburgh and 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 Kindle versions.

My presentation, “Such Friends”:  Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, is available to view on the website of PICT Classic Theatre. The program begins at the 11 minute mark, and my presentation at 16 minutes.

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’:  New York City, May 1917

The May issue of Vanity Fair is on the newsstands in Manhattan.

vanity-fair-cover-may-1917

Vanity Fair, May 1917

On the Upper West Side, lawyer and art collector John Quinn, 46, is eager to get his copy and see in print the article he submitted, ‘James Joyce: A New Irish Novelist.’

Quinn had sent most of his friends copies of the new novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by Joyce, 35. Earlier this year, his piece had been rejected by the New York Sun for being too long. So he had submitted it to Vanity Fair, knowing that they did not shy away from challenging their readers. They’d published Gertrude Stein, 43, after all. Vanity Fair had accepted it, offering to donate the $65 fee to an Irish charity of Quinn’s choice.

Ha! Quinn feels he is done with Irish charity, having supported his artist, writer and political friends there financially and morally over the last few years. He told them to give the cash to French war orphans instead.

But Irishman-in-exile Joyce has become his pet project. Quinn had heard his Irish friends talk about him when visiting Dublin almost ten years ago. But it wasn’t till the American ex-patriate poet Ezra Pound, 31, had introduced him to Joyce’s writing that he vowed to champion this new prose in America. Through Pound in London, Quinn had managed to get $100 to a grateful Joyce, ill in Zurich, by buying the original manuscript for A Portrait. Quinn felt that buying manuscripts and paintings from developing writers and artists was a good way to support them as well as increase his own holdings.

Portrait_of_the_Artist_as_a_Young_Man

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Paging through the current issue of Vanity Fair, Quinn finds his article nestled among the ads for perfumes and deodorants, children’s shoes and rubber body suits for weight loss.

Farther down in mid-town, Dorothy Rothschild, 23, is grabbing her copy of Vanity Fair to see her latest poem, ‘Actresses:  A Hate Song’:

I hate actresses.

They get on my nerves.

There are the Adventuresses,

The Ladies with Lavender Pasts.

They wear gowns that show all their emotions,…’

She’s been getting a lot of mileage—and $12 a shot—out of this theme, starting with ‘Men:  A Hate Song’ in the same magazine over a year ago.

Dottie is actually on staff at Vanity Fair’s sister magazine, Vogue, both owned by Conde Nast publishing.  She spends her days writing captions such as,

‘Brevity is the soul of lingerie—as the Petticoat said to the chemise.’  

vogue-cover-may-1917 (1)

Vogue, May 1917

Rothschild would love to switch over to the more literary Vanity Fair, and submits poems to get their attention. But mostly she is thinking about her upcoming wedding to Wall Street stock broker Edwin Pond Parker II, 24, about a month away.

Is this a good time to get married? Just last month, America entered the war in Europe! At least she will be able to change her name.

Also in midtown, looking through this month’s issue, is another sometime Vanity Fair contributor, Robert Benchley, 27. In ‘The Alcoholic Drama’ he reviews a roundup of plays, including one he wasn’t so impressed with:

Somehow it drags. One has plenty of time…to look about the house and see who is there, and then come back to the play, without missing a stroke.’

Benchley has just been fired along with all his colleagues on the New York Tribune Magazine. He’d loved that job. They’d even encouraged him to play a corpse in a play so he could write an article about it.

But the publishers of the Tribune are big supporters of America’s involvement in the war, so they’d gotten rid of any staff who disagreed. Benchley is a pacifist; and with a wife and 18-month old son in the suburbs, he is exempt from military service.

Bob had seen the disaster coming, so has applied for a rumoured opening at Vanity Fair. But the editor is vague about whether this will materialize, so Benchley is thinking of creative ways to free-lance. Writing articles for the Atlantic Monthly, advertising copy, movie titles. Even becoming a press agent for Broadway shows.

Quinn instructs the staff in his Nassau Street law office to send copies of Vanity Fair out to a list of his acquaintances. He wants to do everything he can to promote Joyce and his writing.

But he also has to get ready for the dinner party he is giving tonight. On Pound’s suggestion, he has invited the editors of a literary magazine based in Greenwich Village, The Little Review, Margaret Anderson, 30, and Jane Heap, 34, to dine that evening in his Central Park West ninth floor penthouse.

The purpose of the dinner is to discuss the support Quinn has been giving to the magazine via Pound, who has been appointed, at Quinn’s request, as The Little Review’s foreign editor. Quinn is sure he will be able to persuade these women to take his additional advice about how to run their little magazine.

Little Review May 1917

The Little Review, May 1917

This year I’ll be piecing together my planned biography of John Quinn (1870-1924). Read more about him on the link to your right: ‘I want to tell you about an amazing man.’

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

To walk with me and the ‘Such Friends’ through Bloomsbury, download the Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group audio walking tour from VoiceMap.