“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, April, 1922, England, America, France, and Ireland

Comment continues to come in reacting to the new novel Ulysses, by Irishman James Joyce, 40, published two months ago by a small bookshop in Paris, Shakespeare and Company, owned by American ex-pat Sylvia Beach, 35.

SCANDAL OF JAMES JOYCE’S ULYSSES

After a rather boresome [sic] perusal of James Joyce’s Ulysses, published in Paris for private subscribers at the rate of three guineas in francs, I can realize one reason at least for Puritan America’s Society for the Prevention of Vice, and can understand why the Yankee judges fined the publishers of The Little Review $100 for the publication of a very rancid chapter of the Joyce stuff, which appears in to have been written by a perverted lunatic who has made a specialty of the literature of the latrine…Joyce is a writer of talent, but in Ulysses he has ruled out all the elementary decencies of life and dwells appreciatively on things that sniggering louts of schoolboys guffaw about.

Sporting Times

“In addition to this stupid glorification of mere filth, the book suffers from being written in the manner of a demented George Meredith. There are whole chapters of it without any punctuation or other guide to what the writer is really getting at. Two-thirds of it is incoherent, and the passages that are plainly written are devoid of wit, displaying only a coarse salacrity [sic] intended for humour…The main contents of the book are enough to make a Hottentot sick…[However] there are quite a number of the New York intelligentsia who declare that Joyce has written the best book in the world.”—”Aramis,” Sporting Times, England

[Joyce is] Rabelais after a nervous breakdown.”—Sheffield Daily Telegraph, England

[Ulysses] has nothing at all to do with Homer…The book itself in its blue paper cover looks at first glance like nothing so much as a telephone directory…It seems a pity that Mr. Joyce, who might be a universally admired writer, restricts the appeal of his work by so many Zolaesque expressions, which are, to say the least, disfiguring.”—“Diary of a Man About Town,” London Evening News

[Joyce is] an intensely serious man [with] the mind of an artist, abnormally sensitive to the secret of individuality of emotions and things…A genius of the very highest order, strictly comparable to Goethe or Dostoevsky…Ulysses is, fundamentally (though it is much else besides), an immense, a prodigious self-laceration, the tearing away from himself, by a half-demented man of genius, of inhibitions and limitations which have grown to be flesh of his flesh…Mr. Joyce has made the superhuman effort to empty the whole of his consciousness into it…[But he has become] the victim of his own anarchy….[Joyce] is the man with the bomb who would blow what remains of Europe into the sky…This transcendental buffoonery, this sudden uprush of the vis comica into a world where in the tragic incompatibility of the practical and the instinctive is embodied, is a very great achievement.”—“Mr. Joyce’s Ulysses,” John Middleton Murry, Nation and Athenaeum, England

The Nation and Athenaeum

[Joyce’s vision of human nature is] mean, hostile, and uncharitable,…a very astonishing phenomenon in letters. He is sometimes dazzlingly original. If he does not see life whole he sees it piercingly. His ingenuity is marvelous. He has wit. He has a prodigious humor. He is afraid of naught…It is more indecent, obscene, scatological, and licentious than the majority of professedly pornographic books…He says everything—everything…The code is smashed to bits…[The Nighttown episode has] the richest stuff, handled with a virtuosity to match the quality of the material…I have never read anything to surpass [Molly Bloom’s soliloquy], and I doubt if I have ever read anything to equal it…[Joyce] apparently thinks that there is something truly artistic and high minded in playing the lout to the innocent and defenseless reader…He has made novel reading into a fair imitation of penal servitude. Many persons could not continue reading Ulysses; they would be obliged, by mere shock, to drop it.”—“James Joyce’s Ulysses,” Arnold Bennett, The London Outlook, England

The London Outlook

Amused, stimulated, charmed, interested (through the first three chapters only to be) puzzled, bored, irritated, & disillusioned as by a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples (by the end of chapter 6)…It was an illiterate, underbred book (by a) self-taught working man”—Virginia Woolf, in her diary, England

*****

[Ulysses is] a step toward making the modern world possible for art. [It gives] a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history…[Joyce has replaced narrative with] the mythical method…[It is] a book to which we are all indebted and from which none of us can escape”—T. S. Eliot, “Ulysses, Order and Myth,” The Dial, America

*****

[Molly Bloom’s soliloquy is a feat of] diabolic clairvoyance, black magic.”—Paris edition of New York Herald, France

Take this Irishman Joyce, a sort of Zola gone to seed. Someone recently sent me a copy of Ulysses. I was told I must read it, but how can 1 plow through such stuff? I read a little here and there, but, oh my God! How bored I got! Probably Joyce thinks that because he prints all the dirty little words he is a great novelist. You know, of course, he got his ideas from Dujardin?…Joyce, Joyce, why he’s nobody…from the Dublin docks:  no family, no breeding. Someone else once sent me his A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a book entirely without style or distinction; why, I did the same thing, but much better in The Confessions. of a Young Man. Why attempt the same thing unless you can turn out a better book?…Ulysses is hopeless, it is absurd to imagine that any good end can be served by trying to record every single thought and sensation of any human being. That’s not art, that’s attempting to copy the London Directory….He lives here in Paris, I understand. How does he manage to make a living? His books don’t sell. Maybe he has money?”—Irish critic George Moore, in conversation in France

A welter of pornography (the rudest school-boy kind), and unformed and unimportant drivel.”—Edith Wharton, France

It bursted over us like an explosion in print, whose words and phrases fell upon us like a gift of tongues, like a less than holy Pentecostal experience”—Young American in France

Sylvia Beach and James Joyce in front of headlines at Shakespeare and Company

*****

I should think you would need something to restore your self-respect after this last inspection of the stinkpots…Everything dirty seems to have the same irresistible attraction for you that cow-dung has for flies.”—The author’s brother, Stanislaus Joyce, Ireland

I’ve always told him he should give up writing and take up singing.”—The author’s partner, Nora Barnacle, visiting her mother in Ireland

“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 in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

In June I will be talking about the Stein family salons in Paris just before and just after the Great War, at Carnegie-Mellon University’s Lifelong Learning program.

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 in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, late March, 1922, Shakespeare and Company, 12 rue de l’Odeon, Paris; 31 Nassau Street, New York City, New York; and 311 Chatham Street, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

At the Shakespeare and Company bookstore on rue de l’Odeon, the American owner Sylvia Beach, 35, is sending out copies of the new novel Ulysses, by Irish ex-pat James Joyce, 40, which she published last month.

Sylvia is able to fill orders from countries all over the world—except the United States.

Because excerpts from the novel, which appeared in The Little Review there a few years ago, were determined to be obscene by a New York state court, U. S. Customs officials are on alert.

Oh, she has plenty of orders. One of the largest—25 copies—is from the Washington Square Bookshop in Greenwich Village, where The Little Review was first confiscated.

Washington Square Bookshop stationery

Sylvia is determined. One of Joyce’s many benefactors, Irish-American attorney John Quinn, 52, who unsuccessfully argued the case for the Ulysses excerpts in court, has suggested smuggling copies in to some northern city from Canada. Sylvia asked one of the young American would-be novelists who frequent her store, Ernest Hemingway, 22, if he knew anyone back home in Chicago who could help. The next day he gave Sylvia contact details of a friend and Sylvia shot off a letter to him.

But that was in the beginning of February. She didn’t hear anything until last week when he sent a brief telegram: 

SHOOT BOOKS PREPAID YOUR RESPONSIBILITY

ADDRESSING SAME TO ME CARE DOMINION EXPRESS COMPANY,”

with a Canadian address.

Not very promising.

Sylvia is thinking of giving up on Hemingway’s friend and exploring one of Quinn’s contacts, a good friend of his, Mitchell Kennerley, 43, who has a successful Park Avenue auction house. Kennerley imports books and other items from the UK all the time. Quinn says Mitch is personal friends with the captain of a transatlantic liner who could bring Ulysses over from London, slowly, in batches of 25 or 30 copies per month.

That might be the best option.

*****

In his law office, John Quinn is catching up on his correspondence. He is updating Sylvia Beach on the fate of Ulysses in New York. Copies have started to appear in bookshops here. One of his favorites, Drake’s on 40th Street, is selling her $12 non-deluxe copies for $20; Brentano’s for $35, even $50.

Brentano’s logo

How did they get a hold of the books?! Traveling Americans might have brought them back in their luggage. But Quinn advises Sylvia that the authorities will soon start confiscating any that they find. Some returning tourists have already had their copies destroyed at the Port of New York.

Quinn is willing to make an arrangement with Kennerley.

Beach would have to ship the books in large quantities from Paris to London. They would enter the U. S. as freight, so customs would probably overlook them; they are more intent these days on catching bootleggers. Even if the books were found, they would probably be returned to London rather than burned.

Kennerley would collect the cash from the American buyers, have the copies delivered by private carriers—thereby avoiding sending “obscene” material through the mail—and pass the profits on to Sylvia. Retaining a commission of 10% of the retail price.

Quinn emphasizes to her that Kennerley is willing to break the law and, if he were arrested,

There wouldn’t be a ghost of a shade of a shadow of a chance of acquitting Kennerly.”

In fact, Quinn tells her, hold on to the 14 copies he ordered for now, until he comes up with a definitive plan to receive them.

*****

In Windsor, Ontario, Barnet Braverman, 34, is wondering why he hasn’t heard anything from that American woman in Paris who wants him to smuggle books across the border.

When her initial letter finally caught up to him a week or so ago—he had moved from Chicago to Toronto and is now packing to move to Detroit—he was intrigued.

Miss Beach said a mutual friend had recommended him and that she needs to get copies of James Joyce’s new novel, Ulysses, to Americans—particularly New York publishers like Knopf and Huebsch who are too yellow to publish it themselves.

Braverman really wants to have a part in sticking it to the publishing establishment. His new ad agency job here in Windsor means he will be taking a short boat ride from and to Detroit across Lake St. Clair every day as part of his commute.

The Detroit and Windsor Ferry

Barnet is thinking he should write Miss Beach a detailed letter so she knows how eager he is to help out.

“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 in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

In June I will be talking about the Stein family salons in Paris before and after the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk 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, February 21, 1922, 70 bis, rue Notre Dame des Champs, Paris

Irish-American lawyer, John Quinn, 51, has been ill recently and this has cut into his time, not only as a successful corporate lawyer, but also as a patron of artists and writers, including Irish novelist James Joyce, 40, living in Paris.

Joyce’s controversial novel Ulysses has just been published in Paris by an American ex-pat bookstore owner, with financial help from Quinn. He and Shakespeare and Company owner Sylvia Beach, 34, have been tussling with each other in letters. She’s always asking for money to support Joyce, and Quinn wonders if the writer really needs that much support. Quinn is sure Beach is getting her share of the profits. Although she has told him that Joyce’s royalty is going to be an outstanding 66%.

Sylvia Beach

Recently Beach wrote to Quinn to smooth things over: 

I know that no matter how testy you like to seem, you are the kindest man alive.”

Today, another one of Joyce’s American supporters, ex-pat poet Ezra Pound, 36, also living in Paris, is writing one of his usual lengthy and colorful letters, to bring Quinn up to date on the writers he is supporting:

Cher ami:

“I am sorry you have been ill; has anyone suggested that you work too much. Most men stop when buried, but I see you pushing up the lid of the cercueil, or having a telephone fixed inside the damn thing ante mortem, so that you can dictate to the office…

Ezra Pound

Joyce told me yesterday that his english patron [publisher Harriet Shaw Weaver] had come across with another $1000, so that his income, “unearned” (or damn well earned) is now about £450 per year. So that’s that. I dont think Miss Bitch (as the name is pronounced by Parisians) was writing [at Joyce’s] instigation…

“She has been very sporting over Ulysses, but she is bone ignorant and lacking in tact. (I mean, in my own case, that she insults me every other time I go into the shop, in perfect, oh, I am convinced, in perfect unconsciousness of the fact. She has nothing to gain by insulting me)…

“That I think is a fair definition of tactlessness:  to insult when you dont mean to….

“I am worried about [poet T. S.] Eliot; and if you start chucking money about, I shd. certainly make out a case for him, now, before anyone else…

“Eliot came back from his Lausanne specialist looking O.K.; and with a damn good poem (19 pages) in his suit case…

“[New York publisher Horace] Liveright made a good impression here; offered to bring out Ulysses in the U. S. and hand over 1000 bones to J. J[oyce]. Why the hell J. J. didn’t nail it AT once I don’t know. The terms were o. k. 1000 dollars for first edition, etc…However, Joyce is off my hands; free, white, 21 years or more, of age etc…

“Eliot ought to be private secretary to some rich imbecile…failing that you might send over someone to elope, kidnap, or otherwise eliminate Mrs. E[liot]…

“Hell, mon cher, will you retire sensibly now? Or will you insist [on] being useful to other people until it is too late?…

“So far it has been a winter without colds in the head. Hope to get some Italian sun in April. Have bought lire with that intent, as their value on the exchange seems to be drifting up.

“yours ever

“Ezra Pound”

Pound’s unique spelling and punctuation have been left intact.

“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 in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Thanks to all who came out in record-breaking rainfall to see my presentation about Gertrude Stein at Riverstone Books. This summer I will be talking about the Stein family salons in Paris at 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 also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, February 2, 1922, Gare de Lyon, Place Louis-Armand, Paris; and 13 Nassau Street, New York City, New York

Standing on the platform at the Gare de Lyon, American ex-pat Sylvia Beach, 34, is waiting for the Paris-Dijon Express, due in at 7 am.

Gare de Lyon

The first copies of the novel Ulysses, by Irish ex-pat James Joyce, 40 today, will arrive from Darantiere, the printer in Dijon. Sylvia’s little Left Bank bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, has taken on the responsibility of publishing the controversial book when no one else would.

When Beach told Joyce that Darantiere guaranteed to mail the parcel on 1st February, Joyce was not pleased. He insisted that the package be put on the train so the conductor can hand deliver the two copies to Sylvia personally.

As the train approaches, Beach is working out the next steps in her head. She will get a taxi to Joyce’s apartment at 9 rue de l’Universite to give him the 40th birthday present that he wants most, the first copy of Ulysses.

Then she will continue on to her shop, at 12 rue de l’Odeon, about 20 minutes away, to put the second copy on display in the window. Word has been circulating around the Left Bank that the book will soon be available, and those who subscribed in advance are eager to get their copies.

Tonight Joyce has planned a small party at one of his favorite restaurants, Ferraris, to celebrate his accomplishment, eight years in the making. He and his partner, and the mother of his children, Nora Barnacle, 37, have invited just a few friends. One of Joyce’s most loyal supporters and drinking buddies, American writer Robert McAlmon, 26, left town for the Riviera just yesterday. Didn’t even leave behind a birthday present.

Sylvia Beach and James Joyce

*****

The next day, Joyce cables one of his main benefactors, Irish-American attorney, John Quinn, 51, at his Manhattan law office:

Ulysses published. Thanks.”

Quinn, meanwhile, cables to his friend, Irish playwright William Butler Yeats, 56:

Regret your father [painter JB Yeats, 82] passed away this morning, 7 o’clock…The end came in sleep without pain or struggle.”

The author and her Irishman, Tony Dixon

“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 in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

My talk about my fellow Pittsburgher, Gertrude Stein, at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill tomorrow has been postponed due to the weather gods sending “extra ice on Thursday” in the middle of a snowstorm. The new date will be posted on this blog and you can register your interest in coming here.

At the end of February I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses at the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University, on Zoom, no matter what the weather is like.

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, first week in January, 1922, Left Bank, Paris

When New York publisher Horace Liveright, 37, planned his month-long European trip, this is exactly the kind of evening he had hoped for.

Horace Liveright

His host and facilitator is American ex-pat poet Ezra Pound, 36, whom Liveright has never met. Through correspondence, Pound has been keeping Liveright abreast of all the latest publishers and writers working in Paris and London, and this trip is Ezra’s chance to introduce them to Horace.

Liveright had predicted correctly to his wife that this time in Paris with Ezra would be the “best of all” the trip.

Their companions for tonight are two of the ex-pat writers Liveright most wants to meet. American Thomas Stearns Eliot, 33, living in London but visiting Paris for two weeks, and Irishman James Joyce, 39, whose much talked about novel, Ulysses, declared obscene by the courts in the US, is nevertheless due to be published here early next month.

T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound

Liveright wants to sign up all three, and firmly believes in mixing contracts with cocktails. It is rumored that the bootleggers visiting his Manhattan office often outnumber the writers. Eliot’s favored tipple is gin, but the other three are not particularly selective.

Liveright would like to publish some of Pound’s poetry, and he trusts Ezra’s high opinion of Eliot’s work.

Pound would like to see Eliot published more broadly, to get him enough income so he can leave his godawful bank clerk’s job in London. In the two weeks they are here together in Paris, they are going to work intensively revising Eliot’s untitled latest long poem. Pound tries pitching that one to Liveright, who is concerned it might not be long enough to be book-length.

Joyce would like to see Ulysses published in America but seems unimpressed with Liveright’s offer of $1,000 upfront. Pound is aghast. Why wouldn’t Joyce want that kind of money?

Pound is not aware that Liveright had offered to publish Ulysses once before. But he wanted to make changes; Joyce refuses to let anyone change even one word. For now, he will stick with the deal he has in Paris. American bookstore owner Sylvia Beach, 34, is bringing out Ulysses in a few weeks, word for word, the way Joyce wrote it.

“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 in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

On February 3, 2022, we will be celebrating the 148th birthday of my fellow Pittsburgh native Gertrude Stein, at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill. You can register for this free event, or sign up to watch it via Zoom, here

Early in the new year I am talking about the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses at 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 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, December 7, 1921, La Maison des Amis des Livres, 7 rue de l’Odeon, Paris

There’s definitely a buzz.

More than two hundred people are crowding into two rooms in this small bookshop to hear French poet Valery Larbaud, 40, lecture and read from Ulysses, the latest work by Irish ex-patriate novelist James Joyce, 39.

Invitation to Ulysses reading

[Photo courtesy of Glenn Johnston]

This shop is owned by Adrienne Monnier, 29, whose partner, American ex-pat Sylvia Beach, 34, the owner of Shakespeare and Company across the street, is publishing Ulysses because no major publisher in America or England will touch it.

Publication date was supposed to be this autumn. But Joyce has been delayed by several bouts of bad health. His constant revisions are frustrating the printers. Those who have subscribed to get the first copies are getting restless. They want Ulysses!

So Beach and Monnier have organized this reading to placate impatient subscribers and promote the book among the French. At this point, they are hoping to bring it out on Joyce’s 40th birthday, next February 2nd.

Larbaud, who is not only a friend but a huge fan of Joyce, has been working for days in the back room of the shop with a bilingual Sorbonne music student, Jacques Benoist-Mechin, 20, to translate passages Larbaud can read to the crowd.

That’s what’s making Larbaud nervous. Although he has given talks here many times, never to a crowd this big. And never a reading with so much…well, sex in it.

In the invitation to the event, Beach and Monnier warn,

Certain pages have an uncommon boldness of expression that might quite legitimately be shocking.”

They don’t mention that a New York City court has already found excerpts to be obscene.

Waiting in the dark room is American ex-pat artist Man Ray, 31, even though he doesn’t understand much French. One American who is not here is the poet Ezra Pound, 36. He brought Joyce and his family to Paris over a year ago and promoted him and his work to all the right literati. Now he feels side-lined by the attention Beach’s upcoming publication is getting.

Monnier gives Larbaud a glass of brandy to calm his nerves. On his way to the little table in front of the crowd, he steps behind the screen which is hiding Joyce from the audience to admit to the author that he is going to leave out a few lines.

He begins his talk by reviewing the life and previous writings of the Irish author. Larbaud links the earlier novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and the short story collection Dubliners to this latest work and tells readers that the key to understanding Joyce’s Ulysses is to keep Homer’s Odyssey in mind.

Larbaud then reads translated parts of the “Sirens” and “Penelope” sections of Ulysses and is met with wild applause. At the end, Larbaud goes behind the screen and brings out Joyce, kissing him on both cheeks.

Joyce blushes.

Adrienne Monnier and Sylvia Beach

“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, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and in print and e-book formats on Amazon. If they can’t get it to you in time for gift giving, I can. Email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

In January and February I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses at 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 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, late October, 1921, Paris

Irish novelist James Joyce, 39, is doing his best to get his Ulysses finished in time for a promised November publication. Actually, it was a promised October publication, but they missed that.

His publisher, American ex-pat bookstore owner, Sylvia Beach, 34, is dealing with angry subscribers who were expecting to have copies in hand by now. British army officer T. E. Lawrence, 33, is particularly mad as he has ordered two of the expensive deluxe copies.

T. E. Lawrence

But Sylvia figures that, as she hasn’t yet accepted any money from the subscribers, she isn’t cheating anyone.

Joyce is working hard, not only writing but also correcting proofs received back from the printer. He writes to a friend that the typesetters are

boggled by all the w’s and k’s in our tongue and can do only about 100 pages at a time…However, I am doing my best to push [Leopold] Bloom on to the stage of the world.”

Sylvia and the printer are also having a hard time finding the cover paper Joyce wants, the same blue as the Greek flag.

As he writes and revises, Joyce keeps expanding the text, by as much as 20%.

At the same time, he is also working with one of his French friends, writer Valery Larbaud, 40, on a French translation of the novel. In the backroom of another Left Bank bookshop, La Maison des Amis des Livres, owned by Sylvia’s partner, Adrienne Monnier, 29, Joyce is getting help with the translation from a young music student. Bilingual Jacques Benoist Mechin, 20, has also made some good suggestions, particularly about the ending. Joyce wanted to finish Molly Bloom’s soliloquy with “I will.” But he likes Mechin’s idea of ending with “Yes.”

“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 month I am 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, 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 22, 1921, Shakespeare and Company, 12 rue de l’Odeon, Paris

Which is worse? Financial problems or visiting family members?

That’s what is confronting ex-pat bookstore owner Sylvia Beach, 34, who is writing to her sister, Holly Beach Dennis, 37, in Italy to ask for money.

Shakespeare and Company, 12 rue de l’Odeon

Sylvia and her partner, Adrienne Monnier, 29, who owns a French-language bookstore across the street, have just returned from a lovely holiday in Hyeres on the southeastern coast of France.

Now that they are back home Sylvia has to face her mother, here on her annual visit, joined by Mom’s brother and his son.

In addition, the bill for renovations Sylvia had to have done to move her shop, Shakespeare and Company, to this new—much improved—location has come due. A total of 2,120 francs, including printing the announcement of the relocation.

But the bill that worries Sylvia the most is the one from the printer, Darantiere, in Dijon. He needs 1,000 francs for the work he has done setting type for Ulysses, the controversial novel by Irish ex-pat James Joyce, 39, which Sylvia has offered to publish. Darantiere has agreed to be paid in instalments, and Sylvia has solicited quite a few pre-orders from around the world. But not enough subscribers have sent checks yet to cover the growing expenses.

Letter from Darantiere

Reluctantly, Sylvia writes to Holly:

I’m asking you to lend me a thousand francs!!! My carpentry bill will be handed in any day now and mother who was going to lend me all the money for my moving expenses had to stop off in the midst, having had a great deal of expense getting [their sister] Cyprian equipped as a rising film star…My business is going well [but I] have to put every single centime aside to pay the printer.”

The plan is still to bring out Ulysses this fall, but Sylvia is dubious.

“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.

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”:  The Literary 1920s, Volume II—1921 is now available!

Would you like to find out now how 1921 ends?

You can!

Cover design by Lisa Thomson

You don’t have to wait for this blog to work its way through the year.

Just order “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, Volume II—1921, the second in the series collecting these blog postings about this amazing decade. The print version is available now on Amazon; the e-book will be available in a few weeks.

You’ve certainly put a lot of work into this. It is a panorama of the period…Look forward to reading your future work”—Richard, Hemingway fan

Following less than eight months after the publication of Volume I, this collection of more than 100 vignettes has the same easy to dip in and out of layout. Or you can read straight through from January 1st to the upcoming December 31st.

Interior pages of “Such Friends”

Spoiler alert:  It’s got a great ending [and two recipes]!

I have really been enjoying your book…Because of the way it’s set up with episodes corresponding to dates of the year, it’s a great one for reading a bit from on a daily basis.”—Emily, British writer fan

And what about your book-loving friends? You may know which early 20th century writers they love, but are you sure which works they have read or not read at gift-giving time? The series “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s is the perfect present because they sure haven’t read this! Give them the gift of great gossip about their favorite creative people.

The series “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s is based in part on my research for my Ph.D. in Communications from Dublin City University in Ireland. which focused on the legendary writers and artists who socialized in salons in the early years of the 20th century—William Butler Yeats and the Irish Literary Renaissance, Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, Gertrude Stein and the Americans in Paris, and Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table. For the blogs and books I have expanded the cast of characters to also include those who orbited around them such as T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Edna St. Vincent Millay and others.

My investigations into creative writers in the early 20th century began with Manager as Muse, a case study of Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ work with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, the topic of my MBA thesis at Duquesne University in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is also available on Amazon in print and e-book formats.

The “Such Friends” book series has been beautifully designed by Lisa Thomson [LisaT2@comcast.net] and produced on Amazon by Loral and Seth Pepoon of Selah Press [loralpepoon@gmail.com].

The cover art on Volume II is a painting by Virginia Woolf’s sister, painter Vanessa Bell, A Conversation.

A Conversation by Vanessa Bell, 1913-1916

If you are in Pittsburgh, and easily accessible by bus, I will hand deliver your personally signed copy!

Everyone is reading “Such Friends”!

I read it in chronological order and found the vignettes most interesting. A sort of behind the scenes look into the thoughts, character, and personalities of the writers and artists affiliated with the individual salons in the beginning of the decade. I do believe the 20s sparked a Renaissance of thought and ideas in the literary and artistic world. I must admit that there were a few of their associates that I was not familiar with which may merit further study.”—Robert, Wisconsin fan

For complimentary review copies of both volumes of “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and Ireland 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.