“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, January 21, New York Tribune, New York City, New York

Boni and Liveright has taken an ad in the New York Tribune to promote one of the books they are most proud of publishing late last year, The Waste Land, by American poet living in London, Thomas Stearns Eliot, 34.

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot

When it was published last month, Boni and Liveright’s ad said,

The contract for The Waste Land, Mr. Eliot’s longest and most significant poem, which we have just published, was signed in Paris on New Year’s Eve and was witnessed by Ezra Pound and James Joyce. A good time was had by one and all—even the publisher.”

Not strictly true; but they did all have dinner together in Paris.

This month, the copy reads: 

…probably the most discussed poem that has been written since Byron’s Don Juan…[Clive Bell], the distinguished English writer, [has called Eliot] the most considerable poet writing in English.”

However, back in the Bloomsbury neighborhood of London, Clive, 41, has told his mistress, writer Mary Hutchinson, 33, that he is sure Eliot uses violet face powder to make him look “more cadaverous.”

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

Next month I will be talking the literary 1920s in Paris and New York City in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute 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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, December 31, 1922/January 1, 1923, Ireland, England, France and America

At the end of the third year of the 1920s…

In Ireland, despite living in the middle of a Civil War, and the death of his 82-year-old father this past February, poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 57, has had a pretty good year.

He is enjoying his appointment to the newly formed Senate of the Irish Free State, engineered by his friend and family doctor, Oliver St. John Gogarty, 44, who managed to get himself appointed as well.

Irish Free State Great Seal

Much to Yeats’ surprise, the position comes with an income, making it the first paying job he has ever had. The money, as he writes to a friend,

of which I knew nothing when I accepted, will compensate me somewhat for the chance of being burned or bombed. We are a fairly distinguished body, much more so than the lower house, and should get much government into our hands…How long our war is to last nobody knows. Some expect it to end this Xmas and some equally well informed expect another three years.”

Indeed, although Senator Yeats has been provided with an armed guard at his house, two bullets were shot through the front door of his family home in Merrion Square on Christmas Eve.

82 Merrion Square

A few blocks away the Abbey Theatre, which he helped to found 18 years ago, is still doing well under the director and co-founder Lady Augusta Gregory, 70. John Bull’s Other Island, a play by his fellow Dubliner, George Bernard Shaw, 66, is being performed, starring part-time actor and full-time civil servant Barry Fitzgerald, 34.

George Bernard Shaw

Yeats has been awarded an Honorary D. Litt. From Trinity College, Dublin. He writes to a friend that this makes him feel “that I have become a personage.”

*****

In England, at Monk’s House, their country home in East Sussex, the Woolfs, Virginia, 40, and Leonard, 42, are reviewing the state of their five-year-old publishing company, the Hogarth Press.

The road outside Monk’s House

They have added 37 members to the Press’ subscribers list and have agreed to publish a new poem by their friend, American ex-pat Thomas Stearns Eliot, 34, called The Waste Land early in the new year. Virginia has donated £50 to a fund to help “poor Tom,” as she calls him, who still has a full-time day job at Lloyds Bank. Eliot takes the £50, as well as the $2,000 Dial magazine prize he has been awarded in America and sets up a trust fund for himself and his wife Vivienne, 34.

The Hogarth Press has published six titles this year, the same as last. But most important to Virginia, one of them, Jacob’s Room, is her first novel not published by her hated stepbrother, Gerald Duckworth, 52. She can write as she pleases now.

Most interesting to Virginia at the end of this year is her newfound friendship with another successful English novelist, Vita Sackville-West, 30. The Woolfs have been spending lots of time with Vita and her husband, Sir Harold Nicolson, 36.

Sir Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West

Virginia writes in her diary,

The human soul, it seems to me, orients itself afresh every now and then. It is doing so now…No one can see it whole, therefore. The best of us catch a glimpse of a nose, a shoulder, something turning away, always in movement.”

*****

In France, American ex-pats Gertrude Stein, 48, and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, 45, are vacationing in St. Remy. They came for a month and have decided to stay for the duration of the winter.

Stein is pleased that her Geography and Plays has recently been published by Four Seas in Boston. This eclectic collection of stories, poems, plays and language experiments that she has written over the past decade comes with an encouraging introduction by one of her American friends, established novelist Sherwood Anderson, 46. He says that Gertrude’s work is among the most important being written today, and lives “among the little housekeeping words, the swaggering bullying street-corner words, the honest working, money-saving words.”

Geography and Plays by Gertrude Stein

The volume also contains her 1913 poem, “Sacred Emily,” which includes a phrase Stein repeats often,

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”

Alice is thinking of using that as part of the logo for Gertrude’s personal stationery.

Stein and Alice are hopeful that Geography and Plays will help her blossoming reputation as a serious writer. For now, they are going to send some fruit to one of their new American friends back in Paris, foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star, Ernest Hemingway, 23, and his lovely wife Hadley, 31.

*****

In America, free-lance writer Dorothy Parker, 29, has had a terrible year.

She did get her first short story published, “Such a Pretty Little Picture” in this month’s issue of Smart Set. After years of writing only the light verse that sells easily to New York’s magazines and newspapers, Parker is starting to branch out and stretch herself more.

However, her stockbroker husband of five years, Edwin Pond Parker II, also 29, finally packed up and moved back to his family in Connecticut.

Dorothy and Eddie Parker

Parker took up with a would-be playwright from Chicago, Charles MacArthur, 27, who started hanging around with her lunch friends from the Algonquin Hotel. He broke Dottie’s heart—and her spirit after he contributed only $30 to her abortion. And made himself scarce afterwards.

On Christmas day there were no fewer than eight new plays for Parker to review. She had to bundle up against the cold and spend the holiday racing around to see as much of each one as she could. And then go home to no one but her bird Onan (“because he spills his seed”) and her dog Woodrow Wilson.

New York Times Square Christmas Eve 1920s by J. A. Blackwell

As she gets ready to jump into 1923, Parker works on the type of short poem she has become known for:

One Perfect Rose

By Dorothy Parker

A single flow’r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet–
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
“My fragile leaves,” it said, “his heart enclose.”
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

To hear Dorothy Parker read her poem, “One Perfect Rose,” click here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMnv1XNpuwM

“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 Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, December 15, 1922, New York City, New York; and 9 Clarence Gate Gardens, Marylebone, London

After nearly a year of negotiating, between the publisher, Horace Liveright, just turned 38, in New York; the author, T. S. Eliot, 34, in London; and the author’s representative, lawyer John Quinn, 52, in New York, Eliot’s epic poem, The Waste Land, is finally published in book form.

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot

Eliot has added extensive academic-style annotations to increase the number of pages to a more traditional book size.

According to the agreement worked out by Quinn, the complete poem appeared in the American literary magazine The Dial in November, and Eliot was awarded the magazine’s annual prize of $2,000. The Dial agreed to buy 350 copies of the hardback book from Boni and Liveright, and the book’s cover and advertising tout the Dial prize.

On the suggestion of The Dial editor, Gilbert Seldes, 29, Liveright has numbered the 1,000 copies of the first edition to give them more value and lowered the retail price from $2 to $1.50.

*****

In London, the author is pleased by the praise he is receiving in print and in letters from friends, for his poem as well as his own literary magazine which he has started, The Criterion.

The Criterion, October

After receiving the first issue, Quinn wrote to him,

It’s a beautiful thing, beautiful printing and on good paper. That first number will be memorable. I hope you can keep it up.”

In the midst of all this success, Eliot is still rankled by an anonymous letter he has received. Signed “Your Wellwisher,” it contained four three-halfpenny postage stamps.

Eliot knows that this is an insulting reference to his financial situation, and the effort by some of his friends to set up a trust, Bel Esprit, to give him extra income so he can leave his day job at Lloyds Bank.

“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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, December, 1922, on the newsstands of America

When Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis, 37, was published a few months ago, it was met with mostly positive reactions.

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

H. L. Mencken, 42, literary critic for Smart Set, found the main character to be a symbol of everything wrong with American culture: 

It is not what [Babbitt] feels and aspires that moves him primarily; it is what the folks about him will think of him. His politics is communal politics, mob politics, herd politics; his religion is a public rite wholly without subjective significance.”

In The New Statesman, Rebecca West, just turned 30, declared that Babbitt “has that something extra, over and above, which makes the work of art.”

Fellow novelist H. G. Wells, 56, told Lewis that it is

one of the greatest novels I have read…I wish I could have written Babbitt.”

Somerset Maugham, 48, wrote to say that he felt that

it is a much better book than Main Steet.

Edith Wharton, 60, to whom the novel is dedicated, wrote from one of her villas in France,

I wonder how much of it the American public, to whom irony seems to have become unintelligible as Chinese, will even remotely feel?…Thank you again for associating my name with a book I so warmly admire and applaud.”

But now in December, Edmund Wilson, 27, has his say in Vanity Fair, comparing Lewis unfavorably to Dickens and Twain, and stating that Lewis’ literary gift “is almost entirely for making people nasty.”

*****

Last month The Dial published “The Waste Land” by T. S. Eliot, 34, and in this month’s issue the publisher, Scofield Thayer, just turned 33, announces that Eliot is the second recipient of the magazine’s annual Dial Prize of $2,000.

In the same issue, Eliot has a piece about the death of English vaudeville star, Marie Lloyd, aged 52, which depressed Eliot terribly. In October, almost 100,000 mourners attended her funeral in London.

Marie Lloyd

This issue of The Dial also contains Edmund Wilson’s praise of “The Waste Land,” an in-depth piece about Eliot’s importance as a poet:  

He feels intensely and with distinction and speaks naturally in beautiful verse…The race of the poets—though grown rare—is not yet quite dead.”

Eliot is pleased with Wilson’s review, but unhappy that Wilson called his fellow ex-pat Ezra Pound, 37, an “imitator of [Eliot]…extremely ill-focused.” Eliot considers Pound to be the greatest living English-language poet.

*****

In The Nation this month, Dial editor Gilbert Seldes, 29, is also enamored of “The Waste Land,” comparing it to Ulysses by James Joyce, 40, published earlier this year: 

That ‘The Waste Land’ is, in a sense, the inversion and the complement of Ulysses is at least tenable. We have in Ulysses the poet defeated, turning outward, savoring the ugliness which is no longer transmutable into beauty, and, in the end, homeless. We have in ‘The Waste Land’ some indication of the inner life of such a poet. The contrast between the forms of these two works is not expressed in the recognition that one is among the longest and one among the shortest of works in its genre; the important thing is that in each the theme, once it is comprehended, is seen to have dictated the form.”

Eliot sends Seldes a nice note thanking him for the review.

*****

Outlook magazine, on the other hand, features “A Flapper’s Appeal to Parents,” asking parents and society as a whole to be more understanding of these dancing females who spend “a large amount of time in automobiles.”

*****

First described by American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, 26, the flapper grows up in his story in this month’s Metropolitan magazine, “Winter Dreams,” about a midwestern boy in love with a selfish rich girl, who marries someone all wrong for her. When writing the story, Fitzgerald cut some descriptions to save them for his third novel, which he is working on now.

Metropolitan, December

*****

The December Smart Set has the first short story by one of America’s most-published and most popular poets, Dorothy Parker, 29, whose “Such a Pretty Little Picture” describes a man living a monotonous life in the suburbs, just cutting his hedge. Similar to her best friend, fellow Algonquin Round Table member Robert Benchley, 33, who lives in Scarsdale with his wife and two sons.

“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.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway 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, November 30, 1922, 9 Clarence Gate Gardens, Marylebone, London

At least he got an apology.

Poet Thomas Stearns Eliot, 34, was livid two weeks ago when he read the Liverpool Daily Post and Mercury’s “Books and Bookmen” column about his latest poem, “The Waste Land.”

Clarence Gate Gardens

Yes, his friends, at the instigation of another American ex-pat poet, Ezra Pound, 37, have formed a fund called Bel Esprit with the idea of supporting Eliot’s work financially. BUT. He has NOT left his job at Lloyds Bank. His friends did NOT get together in some sort of surprise meeting to tell him about the fund. And, God knows, he NEVER said to them,

Thank you all very much; I shall make good use of the money, but I like the bank!”

T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound

Pound’s efforts to establish Bel Esprit have made Eliot uncomfortable. Just yesterday, he wrote to Ezra in Paris, questioning whether this annual stipend would continue for his life, or for the life of his wife, Vivien, 34, too. His friends feel that Vivien, who has been quite ill, is a drain on Tom. But, as he has written to Pound,

She kept me from returning to America where I should have become a professor and probably never written another line of poetry.”

Some of the hogwash in the newspaper article comes from a piece that Pound published in New Age magazine this past March. That was embarrassing enough, with Ezra referring to Tom’s “complete physical breakdown.” Other specifics in the Liverpool Daily piece MUST have been leaked to the writer from one of Eliot’s English friends.

No matter the source, Tom has been consulting lawyers to see if he can sue the newspaper. He wrote a forceful letter to the editor denying all the lies and stating,

The circulation of untrue stories of this kind causes me profound astonishment and annoyance and may also do me considerable harm.”

Today the paper has published his letter, followed by a full apology, signed by the editor.

“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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, mid-October, 1922, The Criterion magazine, London; and The Dial magazine, New York City, New York

April is the cruelest month…”

Poet, publisher and bank clerk Thomas Stearns Eliot, 34, is proud of this first issue of the magazine he has started, The Criterion. His wife, Vivien, also 34, suggested the title. She just likes the sound of it.

Table of Contents, The Criterion, Vol. I, No. 1

The production value is good—small format, quality paper, clean typefaces. The content rises to the standard Eliot set for himself:  Longer pieces by top writers from different countries, paid at the rate of £10 for 5,000 words. And no illustrations. He didn’t want to junk each issue up the way The Dial magazine in the States does, with reproductions of Chagalls and Brancusis spread throughout.

I will show you fear in a handful of dust…”

Eliot’s one disappointment is that he didn’t get any work from French writer Marcel Proust, 51, for this first issue, despite interventions by their mutual friend, English novelist Sydney Schiff, 54. However, he is hopeful Proust will submit something in time for Issue No. 2.

Schiff is the first one to congratulate Eliot, who receives his letter while he is looking over the first six copies that have been delivered to him at home.

Marcel Proust

Praising Eliot’s accomplishment in producing The Criterion, Schiff also congratulates him on the crown jewel of this issue, Eliot’s own epic poem, “The Waste Land,” which he has been working on concurrently for the past year or more.

In producing the magazine, Eliot has had the support of Lady Rothermere, 48, who has financed the whole operation with her access to the fortune of her husband, owner of The Daily Mirror and The Daily Mail. She has even offered Tom an annual £600 stipend and salary for the next three years, but Eliot is concerned that his bosses at Lloyds Bank won’t like the idea of him being on someone else’s payroll too.

Promotion for The Criterion

A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,

I had not thought death had undone so many…”

In writing the poem, Eliot has had the support of many of his literary friends, but none more so than fellow American ex-pat, Ezra Pound, about to turn 37. They met up in Paris early this year and again in Verona at the beginning of summer to “put it through the sieve” as Eliot describes their editing process. The cuts Ezra made were invaluable and Eliot enjoyed collaborating; both agree that the final result is Eliot’s best work. Which is why the poem is dedicated to Ezra.

 Those are pearls that were his eyes…”

Now that “The Waste Land” and The Criterion have both been loosed upon the United Kingdom, the next step is for the poem to be published in the United States, in the November issue of The Dial, on the newsstands in a few days.

After this last year of writing, editing, publishing, negotiating, and taking care of his sick wife—while holding down a full-time job—Eliot is eagerly awaiting the world’s reactions to his efforts.

HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME

Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight.

Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight.

Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night…”

*****

Pound, in his continuing efforts to get Eliot enough income so that he can afford to leave his bank job, has also been invaluable in getting The Dial publisher, Scofield Thayer, 32, to agree to publish “The Waste Land” at all.

At first Thayer offered Eliot $150, based on the magazine’s usual payment for poetry, with a little extra thrown in. Eliot wasn’t happy with this and prevailed upon another American who had helped with these things before—New York lawyer and patron of the arts, John Quinn, 52, who had negotiated the deal for the American publication of Eliot’s collection, Poems, a few years before.

By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept…”

This time Quinn got Thayer of The Dial to agree with Horace Liveright, 37, of Boni and Liveright that “The Waste Land,” in America, would appear in the November issue of The Dial and then be published the following month in book form by Boni and Liveright, with an extended series of notes which Eliot has added.

Thayer doesn’t like the poem. Or Eliot, for that matter. But his managing editor, Gilbert Seldes, 29, is impressed with “The Waste Land” and, against Thayer’s wishes, has made it the main item in the November issue. Seldes is short on copy for the fall issues, so 450 lines of new Eliot is a godsend.

The Dial, November

To make sure “The Waste Land” publication has maximum impact, Seldes has enlisted the services of one of the top publicists in the city Bea Kaufman, 27, wife of playwright George S Kaufman, 32. Seldes enticed her with an invitation for a free meal: 

I want to talk about publicity for T. S. Eliot with you very shortly, and I think that these lofty business matters are always settled at lunch, paid for by the office. Let us go to Child’s some morning or afternoon.”

Bea Kaufman’s passport photo

In addition to arranging for reviews to appear in the New York Tribune and the New Republic, and writing one himself for The Nation, Seldes also sent an early copy of “The Waste Land” to Vanity Fair managing editor Edmund Wilson, 27, asking him to write a review for the December issue of The Dial. Wilson read the poem over and over, sitting on the top deck of a Fifth Avenue bus. He feels Eliot’s words speak to him as a frustrated writer, living in a crappy apartment that smells like damp cats.

As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire…”

No other American magazine or book publisher has been actively involved in bidding for “The Waste Land,” but a strong last-minute effort from Quinn was what got Thayer and Liveright to agree to the schedule. Eliot is receiving only $150 from The Dial, but they have also agreed to award him their $2,000 Dial prize this year. (Shhhh—that won’t be announced until the December issue.)

As a reward for his pro bono work. Eliot is sending Quinn the original manuscript of “The Waste Land” to add to his collection of authors’ manuscripts.

 On Margate Sands.

  I can connect

 Nothing with nothing…”

Thayer still isn’t happy about the poem itself, or its first place position in his magazine. He’d still rather be publishing something from an established novelist like Edith Wharton, 60.

All there is to do now is wait to see what the reviewers and the reading public think.

Shantih  shantih shantih.”

T. S. Eliot at work

“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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, mid-September, 1922, Monk’s House, Rodmell, East Sussex; and Garsington, Oxfordshire, England

Looking back, the weekend was a bit awkward.

Novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, and her husband Leonard, 41, hosted their last house guests for this summer.

Fellow novelist Edward Morgan Forster, 43, arrived on Friday evening, carrying only a fraying backpack for luggage and dressed in old clothes.

American ex-pat poet Thomas Stearns Eliot, about to turn 34, didn’t come until Saturday afternoon, after finishing his day job at Lloyds Bank in the morning. He was dressed a bit more formally.

E. M. Forster and T. S. Eliot at Monk’s House

Morgan kept to himself most of the weekend, writing in his room. Virginia realized that he does better when he is the only weekend guest, not having to mix too much with others he’s not comfortable around.

What was most interesting about the weekend was what was not talked about.

Eliot never mentioned the long poem he’s been working on, which he had read to the Woolfs a few months ago.  Although they did talk about a fund that fellow American ex-pat poet Ezra Pound, 36, living in France, is trying to set up for Eliot so he can leave his bank job. Eliot seems a bit embarrassed by the effort.

Virginia is also a bit envious of Morgan’s confidence over the novel he’s been working on.

He is happy in his novel, but does not want to discuss it,”

she writes in her diary.

And no one mentioned the recent coverage of an extensive report by the War Office Committee which, for two years, has been looking into “shell shock” in veterans from the Great War. It is causing quite a stir. One recommendation is that the medical term be changed to “war neurosis” as some who served never really heard shells.

On Sunday afternoon, after tea, Eliot leaves. The whole atmosphere changes. As Virginia records in her diary, she, Leonard and Morgan, “snuggled in & Morgan became very familiar; anecdotic; simple, gossiping about friends & humming his little tunes,”

*****

Meanwhile, one of Virginia’s Bloomsbury friends, biographer Lytton Strachey, 42, has written to her about a “not very stimulating” weekend he is having at Garsington, the country home of former Liberal MP Philip Morrell, 52, and his wife Ottoline, 49. Lytton describes his hostess to Virginia in less than flattering terms: 

Ottoline was dreadfully degringole [tumbling down in his opinion]…:  her bladder has now gone the way of her wits—a melancholy dribble; and then, as she sits after dinner in the lamplight, her cheek pouches drooping with peppermints, a cigarette between her false teeth, and vast spectacles on her painted nose, the effect produced is extremely agitating. I found I want to howl like an Irish wolf—but perhaps the result produced in you was different.”

Lady Ottoline Morrell

“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 at Thoor Ballylee in Co. Galway, and as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA. They are also on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Later in the year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, August, 1922, New York City, New York; Dublin; and London

In America, Ireland and England, many are still working their way through Ulysses.

In the States, Gilbert Seldes, 29, writes in The Nation,

Today [James Joyce] has brought forth Ulysses…a monstrous and magnificent travesty, which makes him possibly the most interesting and the most formidable of our time….I think that Nietzsche would have cared for the tragic gaiety of Ulysses.”

Gilbert Seldes

*****

In Dublin, poet and artist AE [George Russell, 55] writes to his friend in New York City, Irish-American lawyer John Quinn, 52:  

I see the ability and mastery while not liking the mood…[Joyce is] very Irish…The Irish genius is coming out of its seclusion and [W. B.] Yeats, [John Millington] Synge, [George] Moore, [George Bernard] Shaw, Joyce and others are forerunners. The Irish imagination is virgin soil and virgin soil is immensely productive when cultivated. We are devotees of convention in normal circumstances and when we break away we outrage convention.”

George Russell, AE

Another Irish friend, novelist and poet James Stephens, 42, writes to Quinn that he didn’t even bother to try Ulysses.

It is too expensive to buy and too difficult to borrow, and too long to read, and, from what I have heard about it, altogether too difficult to talk about.”

*****

In London, novelist Virginia Woolf, 40, has been working on a short story, “Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street” while still trying to get through Ulysses. She admits to her diary,

I should be reading Ulysses, & fabricating my case for & against. I have read 200 pages. So far—not a third; & have been amused, stimulated, charmed interested by the first two or three chapters–to the end of the Cemetery scene; & then puzzled, bored, irritated, & disillusioned as by a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples. And Tom [American ex-pat poet T. S. Eliot], great Tom, thinks this on a par with War & Peace! An illiterate, underbred book it seems to me:  the book of a self-taught working man, & we all know how distressing they are, how egotistic, insistent, raw, striking, & ultimately nauseating. When 1 can have the cooked flesh, why have the raw? But I think if you are anemic, as Tom is, there is glory in blood. Being fairly normal myself I am soon ready for the classics again. I may revise this later. I do not compromise my critical sagacity. I plant a stick in the ground to mark page 200…I dislike Ulysses more & more–that is I think it more & more unimportant:  & don’t even trouble conscientiously to make out its meanings. Thank God, I need not write about it.”

But Virginia does write about it to her Bloomsbury friend, biographer and essayist Lytton Strachey, 42:  

Never did I read such tosh. As for the first two chapters we will let them pass, but the 3rd 4th 5th 6th–merely the scratching of pimples on the body of the bootboy at Claridges. Of course genius may blaze out on page 652 but I have my doubts. And this is what Eliot worships…”

Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf

“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.

Later in the year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

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.

“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, mid-December, 1921, Hotel Sainte Luce, Avenue Sainte-Luce 1, Lausanne, Switzerland; and Hotel Pas de Calais, 59 rue des Saints-Peres, Paris

American poet Tom Eliot, 33, has a decision to make.

His current plan is to leave Lausanne on Christmas Eve, when he should be done with the therapy treatments he is having here for his nervous condition. He will go to Paris to join up with his wife, Vivien, also 33, who has been there on her own for the past few weeks.

Hotel Sainte Luce

Or, he could stick around here for at least an extra week.

After he took a three-month leave of absence from his job at Lloyds Bank, Tom and Viv spent some weeks at Margate, on the English coast, where Tom made great progress on his long poem.

After seeing the top nerve specialist in London, Eliot agreed with him that he needed to get away and rest.

One of their friends, Ottoline Morrell, 48, who had shared with them her own bouts of depression, recommended this Dr. Roger Vittoz, 58, who had treated her brother here in Lausanne.

Dr. Roger Vittoz

The Eliots went first to Paris, where Tom worked on the poem—really still a handful of fragments—with another American ex-pat poet Ezra Pound, 36. Then Tom came here to begin treatments and Vivien stayed behind.

So far, Ottoline has been right about the town [although it’s a bit dull], the food [which is excellent], the people [who are very helpful], and the doctor.

The Vittoz method includes the doctor holding Tom’s head to read his brain waves and help to alter them. Vittoz gives Eliot exercises which involve repeating visuals and words which have brought him happiness.

Vittoz has been keeping Eliot busy, but he has found some times of calm to sit by Lake Geneva, working various moments he has experienced in to his epic.

The hotel is comfortable; the town is filled with chocolate shops, banks, and kids riding scooters over cobblestones.

From what Viv tells him, Paris is expensive. But any place in Europe is cheaper than London.

Tom is thinking he’ll stay here until the new year.

Of course, he could also spend a few days on the Riviera…

*****

In Paris, Vivien is not only worried about the expense, she is lonely. She has a little room high up in this hotel and can afford to eat only here instead of in any of the lovely Parisian cafes.

Hotel Pas de Calais

And when she’s been out in the neighborhood, Vivien feels that any Brits she knows from back home have been avoiding her. Just the other day at the post office, art critic Roger Fry, just turned 55, wasn’t happy to see her and made a hasty exit.

Paris is still cheaper than London. Ezra Pound and his wife have just moved into a lovely two-room studio around the corner for only £75 per year.

Maybe she and Tom should consider moving here…

“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.

Early in the new year 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.

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, October, 1921, Hotel La Maison Blanche, 3 Traverse des Lices, Saint Tropez, France

The friends from London’s Bloomsbury neighborhood are settling into this hotel on the French Riviera.

Hotel La Maison Blanche

As soon as painter Vanessa Bell, 42, arrives, she writes to their friend, economist John Maynard Keynes, 38, back home, asking him to send them a dozen packages of oatmeal, 10 seven-pound tins of marmalade, four pounds of tea, and “some potted meat.”

Vanessa is here with her former lover, art critic Roger Fry, 54, who has received a letter from Vanessa’s sister, novelist Virginia Woolf, 39, reporting on a recent evening at her country home in Sussex: 

T. S. Eliot says that [James Joyce’s novel Ulysses] is the greatest work of the age—Lytton [Strachey] says he doesn’t mean to read it. Clive [Bell, Vanessa’s husband] says—well, Clive says that [his mistress] Mary Hutchinson has a dressmaker who would make me look like other people.”

Also here for the winter is Vanessa’s partner, painter Duncan Grant, 36, who has arrived via Paris.

Visitors or not, Vanessa intends to spend her time here working on still lifes and interiors, in preparation for her first solo show next spring.

Vanessa Bell’s Interior with a Table

“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.

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 versions.