“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, early November, 1921, 9 rue de l’Universite, Paris

Fresh from the achievement of having finished his novel Ulysses at the end of last month, Irish ex-pat James Joyce, 39, is writing to one of his English benefactors, Harriet Shaw Weaver, 45, back in London:

A coincidence is that of birthdays in connection with my books. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man which first appeared serially in your paper [The Egoist magazine] on 2 February [his birthday] finished on 1 September [her birthday]. Ulysses began on 1 March (birthday. of a friend of mine, a Cornish painter) and was finished on Mr. [Ezra] Pound’s birthday [30 October], he tells me. I wonder on whose it will be published?”

Now Joyce is wondering. What about February?

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man published by the Egoist Press, 1914

“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 as signed copies at Riverstone Books on Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA; and in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Early next year I will be talking about The Centenary of the Publication of Ulysses.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also 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, June 22, 1921, Left Bank, Paris

American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, 28, is having dinner with two of her friends visiting from New York City, hit novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, 24, and his wife, Zelda, 20, on their first trip to Europe.

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s passport

They want to meet up with Scott’s friend from his days at Princeton University, Edmund “Bunny” Wilson, 26, just arrived in Paris from New York.

“Poor Bunny,” as she calls him, had eagerly found Millay as soon as he showed up two days ago. Edna made sure that, when Bunny came to her hotel room, on the rue de l’Universite, she was dressed in a demure black dress, at her typewriter, surrounded by neatly stacked manuscripts, evidence that she is indeed working. After all, Millay is living here as the foreign correspondent for Vanity Fair, thanks to Bunny, managing editor of the magazine.

Edmund Wilson

Since she has been here, Edna has only written to Bunny once, sending him one of her poems. He must know that their relationship is over; he’s been seeing someone else, an actress. But it’s pretty clear he came to Paris mostly to meet up with Millay.

As they chatted, Edna started feeling more comfortable, so she confided in Bunny that she is planning to marry Englishman George Slocombe, 27, special correspondent for the London Daily Herald. Well, as soon as he divorces his wife and kids in the suburbs. She wants to move to England with him. Edna has explained to George that Bunny is “just a friend” from New York.

Meanwhile, Bunny has moved from his Right Bank [i.e., posh] hotel to a pension just a few blocks away from her hotel, on this side of the River Seine [i.e., funky].

Scott and Zelda are staying on the Right Bank. They say they’ll try to find Bunny. Edna is in no hurry.

The Fitzgeralds haven’t been enjoying this trip. England. Italy. France—They’ve been disappointed all along. Zelda has been sick because she’s pregnant. Now they are looking forward to going home, albeit via England again. They might move to Zelda’s home state of Alabama next. They feel that they are done with Europe.

Edna feels as though she is just getting started.

“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 programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

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

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.