“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, early July, 1921, 71 rue de Cardinal Lemoine, Paris

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?

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “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 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.

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