Charlotte Champe Stearns Eliot, 79, teacher, social worker and mother of American poet living in London Thomas Stearns Eliot, 34, has received a letter from her brother-in-law confessing that he does not understand the latest work by young Tom, “The Waste Land.” The poem appeared last fall in the American literary magazine, The Dial, and has been causing quite a stir.
Charlotte Champe Stearns Eliot
Charlotte passes on to her brother-in-law Tom’s explanation that the poem is about losing “an ideal world” that existed, she writes, “certainly up to the time of his marriage and residence in England…Since then he has had pretty hard times,” with his wife’s illnesses and financial problems. She writes,
Under these circumstances, you can easily imagine some of his ideals are shattered.”
Although some of her poems have appeared in religious magazines, and a collection was published a bit over 20 years ago, Charlotte is still a frustrated poet herself. She has to confess to her brother-in-law that she didn’t understand “The Waste Land” the first time that she read it either.
Ohioan Sherwood Anderson, 46, had his fourth novel, Many Marriages, published last month. His first appeared seven years ago, around the time he embarked on a second marriage, to sculptor Tennessee Mitchell, now 49.
Many Marriages by Sherwood Anderson
The review in the New York Herald, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 26, currently working on his third novel, was positive. In “Sherwood Anderson on the Marriage Question,” Fitzgerald said he thinks Many Marriages is Anderson’s best work.
Henry Seidel Canby, 44, in the New York Evening Post declares,
if we are to have an American Thomas Hardy, [Sherwood Anderson] is the man.”
Those leading crusades against “dirty books” are not as impressed. Because Anderson’s work deals with sexual freedom, they have linked it with other contemporary novels such as Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence, 37, which they have tried to ban.
However, today’s issue of Time magazine points out that when Many Marriages was serialized in a magazine, there was resounding praise. Now that it is a hardback book, many find it boring—including Edmund Wilson, 27, in The Dial; Burton Rascoe, 30, in the New York Tribune; and the dean of Manhattan columnists, FPA [Franklin Pierce Adams], 41, in the New York World.
Burton Rascoe by Gene Markey
But Sherwood is pleased with a complimentary letter he has received from his mentor and friend in Paris, American ex-pat writer Gertrude Stein, 49, who likes Many Marriages.
Stein has praised him privately and in print before, including her recent piece in The Little Review, “Idem the Same: A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson,” which says, in the section titled, “A Very Valentine,”:
Very fine is my valentine.
Very fine and very mine.
Very mine is my valentine very mine and very fine.
Very fine is my valentine and mine, very fine very mine and mine is my valentine.”
To hear Gertrude Stein read the complete poem, click here.
City Magistrate George W. Simpson, 51, is issuing his decision in the case brought against publisher Thomas A. Seltzer, 47, by John Sumner, 45, head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice (NYSSV), for publishing three “obscene” books, including the novel Women in Love by English writer D. H. Lawrence, just turned 37 yesterday.
Women in Love, U. S. edition
Based on his own reading, as well as expert testimony from critics such as Gilbert Seldes, 29, managing editor of The Dial magazine—who testified that the novel “would not interest a child and be no more exciting to an adult than a railroad timetable”—Simpson dismisses all charges and orders that the confiscated books be returned to the publisher.
Echoing a decision issued just 10 days earlier in the case Halsey v. NYSSV, Simpson states that
Mere extracts separated from their context do not constitute criteria by which books might be judged obscene,”
and that the books in question have value as literature.
Seltzer’s attorney announces that they will bring suit against Sumner and the NYSSV. And Seltzer knows that sales will soar.
Advertisement that Thomas Seltzer, Inc., plans to place in the New York Times
The author in question, D. H. Lawrence, arrived with his wife, Frieda, 43, at their new home in Taos, New Mexico, just yesterday. What a birthday present.
After more than a year of correspondence between the two, Lawrence finally met his hostess, Mabel Dodge, 43, when he and Frieda stepped off the train yesterday in Lamy, New Mexico, 90 miles south.
Dodge, swathed in turquoise and dripping silver jewelry, was accompanied by her partner, a rather silent Native American Tony Luhan, 43, who drove them here to Taos in Mabel’s Cadillac.
Mabel Dodge and Tony Luhan
Dodge has fixed up a roomy house for the Lawrences, just 200 yards away from the one she shares with Luhan, about a mile from the town’s central plaza.
Lawrence is impressed with their new surroundings. But early this morning, he has gone to Mabel’s house to begin working with her on the novel she wants him to write. She invites him to come up to her roof terrace where she is sunbathing. Passing through her bedroom, Lawrence sees her unmade bed and instinctively makes a disgusted face, which Mabel sees. She is disappointed that the author she has put so much faith in is so small-minded.
Gates to Mabel Dodge’s house
Lawrence tells Mabel that his wife doesn’t want them working together at Mabel’s house; there is plenty of room for them at the Lawrences’. So Dodge and Lawrence gather round the table there.
Frieda makes a point of stomping around the house while loudly sweeping and singing.
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.
After cables from publisher to author and author to lawyer.
After phone calls from lawyer to publisher.
After numerous letters from author to lawyer to editors to publishers.
Finally, corporate attorney, supporter of artists and writers, John Quinn, 52, has managed to get Horace Liveright, 37, owner of Boni and Liveright publishing company, and Gilbert Seldes, 29, managing editor of The Dial magazine, sitting together here in his law office to work out who is going to be first to publish The Waste Land, the latest poem by T. S. Eliot, 33, living in London.
Liveright first expressed interest when he was introduced to Eliot by another American ex-pat poet, Ezra Pound, 36, in Paris over dinner at the beginning of the year.
They began corresponding and Liveright was interested in publishing the poem but concerned it wouldn’t be long enough to be a book on its own. Quinn wanted Eliot to add four or five more poems, but Eliot refused.
The Dial magazine has published Eliot’s poetry before, and he has been writing a “London Letter” column for them when he is feeling up to it.
Seldes and one of the owners, James Sibley Watson, Jr., 28, are both keen to have The Waste Land debut in The Dial. But the other owner, Scofield Thayer, 32, currently living in Vienna, is not impressed with Eliot or his work.
Eliot estimates that the finished poem will be 450 lines. Figuring 35 to 40 lines to a printed page, and standard payment of $10 per page for poetry, paid upon acceptance, and adding in a little extra, Thayer offered Eliot a generous $150. Eliot was not impressed. He cabled that he wanted $250.
Thayer hadn’t seen the poem yet but wrote to his staff that it might be a good thing if they don’t get to publish it. He’d rather publish classics like Edith Wharton, 60, who currently has a hit novel, The Glimpses of the Moon.
But Seldes is worried that he doesn’t have enough material for his upcoming issues, and so he wants to get this agreement nailed down.
Pound assured Thayer, by letter, that The Waste Land is Eliot’s best work. And he has pulled it off while working full-time at a bank and nursing a depressed wife.
Quinn is happy to help because he likes Eliot. He’s not always begging Quinn for money the way Irish novelist James Joyce, 40, does.
Quinn received the typescript from Eliot at the end of July, read it, had it typed up professionally, and sent it over to Liveright—although at that point he couldn’t remember what the final title was—before leaving on a month-long vacation in the Adirondacks.
Now he is back in his office, well rested, facing the editor of the only magazine that wants to publish The Waste Land and the owner of the only book publishing company that wants to publish it.
Why has it taken so long?!
Quinn and Seldes convince Liveright that the best plan is to publish the poem in The Dial first, in the November issue which will be on newsstands around October 20th.
To entice Eliot, Seldes promises that the magazine will announce in the December issue that the poet will receive the second annual Dial award of $2,000, in addition to the regular fee of $150.
Boni and Liveright will then follow up with publication of The Waste Land as a book before the end of the year, with copious notes which Eliot is adding, that won’t be in the magazine version. They will pay him $150 upfront plus royalties.
The Dial also agrees to buy 350 copies of the $2 book version, at a 40% discount, to use as promotional items for subscribers, thereby guaranteeing that Boni and Liveright won’t lose money on the deal.
Everyone agrees to keep the news about the Dial prize a secret until it is officially announced in the magazine.
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.
Tom Eliot, 33, part-time poet, full-time Lloyds bank clerk, has been putting off writing this letter to Scofield Thayer, 32, editor of the American literary magazine, The Dial.
Clarence Gate Gardens
Eliot didn’t want to write more excuses why he can’t submit his “London Letter” column again. So Tom wants to suggest that he will continue the column, but, rather than reviewing specific books, that he will write about life in England in general.
Eliot has been back in colder, more expensive London for just a few days, and he is missing Paris. He was supposed to return to his job at Lloyds this week. But he’s come down with [luckily!] a serious case of the influenza that’s spreading around the country. And with his wife Vivien, 33, still in France, Eliot is working hard on finishing up his still untitled epic and would like to get it published as soon as possible. This forced isolation is a godsend.
Last fall, he’d been granted a three-month leave of absence from his job at Lloyds. They agreed when, not only Viv, but also one of London’s leading nerve specialists said Tom was having a breakdown. Tom spent part of his leave receiving treatment in Switzerland—which helped a bit—and the past two weeks in Paris working hard on the poem, collaborating [which he really enjoyed] with fellow American ex-pat poet Ezra Pound, 36, to cut it to the bone. Now Tom feels much more confident that this is his best work.
In his letter to Thayer, he assures the editor that he will be able to send the finished poem along soon:
It has been three times through the sieve by Pound as well as myself so should be in final form.”
At 450 lines, in four sections, it can easily be spread across four issues of the magazine. Eliot also tells Thayer that the poem will not be published in England until he hears back from The Dial. Quickly, he hopes.
And, Eliot adds, he is curious as to “approximately what The Dial would offer.”
Eliot doesn’t mention that, at a particularly drunken dinner in Paris with Pound and Horace Liveright, 37, the American publisher expressed interest in having his firm, Boni and Liveright, bring out the poem in book form. If it is long enough.
Meanwhile, back in Paris, Pound has also been writing to Thayer, telling him to overlook Eliot’s annoying characteristics and constant excuses. Pound really wants The Dial to publish this major poem, and he is trying to find other ways to get Eliot some income so he can leave that godawful desk job at the bank.
On February 3, 2022, we will be celebrating the 148th birthday of my fellow Pittsburgher Gertrude Stein, at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill. You can register for this free event, or sign up to watch it via Zoom, here.
At the beginning of the month, the London Times reports that, because of an increase in
winter sickness…persons with weak hearts or chests must avoid rapid changes of temperature, which severely tax the circulation and which lower bodily resistance to infection.”
The UK is on track for more than 36,000 deaths from influenza this year, mostly women.
In Richmond, southwest London, Virginia Woolf, 39, hangs up the phone after talking to the editor of the Times Literary Supplement. He wants her to change the word “lewd” in her review of Henry James’ collection of short stories to “obscene.” She says, fine.
She thinks, now that she has enough income from the Hogarth Press to spend her time writing novels, in the new year she won’t have to compromise and write reviews anymore.
Virginia has been relatively healthy these past few months, but now she’s feeling a bit of a cold and tiredness coming on.
In Lausanne, Switzerland, T. S. Eliot, 33, recuperating from a nervous breakdown, has to tell his editor at The Dial, Scofield Thayer, just turned 32, that there will be a delay in his next “London Letter” for the magazine. There’s no way it will appear until at least April, meaning a seven-month gap in columns.
Eliot blames it on a bad bout of the flu. He is using any energy he has right now to work on his long poem.
In Taormino, Sicily, English ex-pat David Herbert Lawrence, 36, has sent off to his New York and London agents packets of revised short stories.
Now he’s heading back to bed with an irritating case of the flu which won’t go away.
Lawrence is, however, actually looking forward to spending Christmas sick in bed.
Scofield Thayer, 31, editor of the American literary magazine, The Dial, has come here specifically to be psychoanalyzed by the legendary Professor Sigmund Freud, 65, for a fee of $100 per week.
Sigmund Freud’s house in Vienna
On the way from New York to Vienna, Thayer stopped off for a bit in Paris, meeting up with one of his magazine’s main contributors, American poet Ezra Pound, about to turn 36, who was kind enough to introduce him around to other ex-pats such as writer Gertrude Stein, 47. and her partner Alice B. Toklas, 44.
With him in Paris was yet another American poet, E. E. Cummings, just turned 27. Thayer has been helping to raise the daughter Cummings fathered two years ago with Thayer’s wife, Elaine Orr Thayer, 25. Scofield and Elaine have just recently finalized their divorce.
Elaine Thayer and her daughter
While Scofield is living in Vienna, which he plans will be for the next two years, he is still running TheDial. He supervises the contents, approves layouts, and tries to drum up some investment from wealthy Europeans he knows.
Thayer has decided to abandon his European expansion plans for his magazine. Another of his ex-pat poet contributors, Tom Eliot, 33, and he have been in talks with Lady Margaret Rothermere, 47, wife of the publisher of the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, about funding a UK version of TheDial.
But it has become clear that Lady Rothermere is more interested in supporting a new magazine that Eliot has proposed—TheCriterion—rather than the expansion of an existing one from the States.
Withdrawing from the field, today Thayer writes to Eliot’s wife Vivien, 33, who is now handling all of Tom’s correspondence, that “the multiplication of magazines” in the market would not be a good thing:
The more artistic journals you publish the more money is wasted on printers, and paper dealers and the less is left for the artists themselves.”
In New York City, the New York Times Magazine features an interview with comedian Charlie Chaplin, 32, with the first byline by the Times’ first female full-time writer, Jane Grant, 29. She and her husband, Harold Ross, just turning 29, are living on her salary and saving his earnings as editor of Judge to bankroll a magazine they want to start.
At the New York World, Herbert Bayard Swope, 39, who took over as executive editor last year, is running front page articles 21 straight days in a row, exposing the Ku Klux Klan as a white supremacist organization. TheWorld’s investigation reveals that not only is the KKK terrorizing Blacks, Jews and immigrants, they are also harassing Catholics in the courts. The KKK is suing all the papers that are carrying TheWorld’s series.
Advertisement in the New York Tribune placed by the New York World
Down in Greenwich Village, the autumn issue of The Little Review, recently convicted of publishing obscene material, proclaims:
As protest against the suppression of The Little Review, containing various instalments of the Ulysses of James Joyce, the following artists and writers of international reputation are collaborating in the autumn number of Little Review.”
The list includes the magazine’s foreign editor, American ex-pat poet Ezra Pound, just turning 36, and writer and artist Jean Cocteau, 32. On the last page the magazine announces that, because Ulysses is to be published as a book in Paris,
We limp from the field.”
The Little Review, Autumn, 1921
The most recent issue of The Dial magazine contains an excerpt from Sea and Sardinia, by D. H. Lawrence, just turned 36. He complains to his agent that the magazine edited his piece of travel writing so that it is “very much cut up…Damn them for that.”
Sea and Sardinia by D. H. Lawrence
In Rome, Harold Loeb, just turning 30, and Alfred Kreymborg, 38, have produced the first issue of a new magazine, Broom, including work by two of their fellow Americans: A short story by Sherwood Anderson, just turning 45, and Sequidilla by ManRay, 31. To choose a title, the founders came up with a list of one-syllable words and randomly chose “broom.” Broom is dedicated to giving “the unknown, path-breaking artist” the opportunity to sweep away their predecessors. But Loeb feels that this first issue has too many predecessors and too few unknowns.
American ex-patriate poet, Tom Eliot, 33, and his wife, Vivien, also 33, are settling in for a three-week stay here in Cliftonville, a bit more than 60 miles northeast of London, during one of the hottest Octobers on record.
Advertisement for Albemarle Hotel
Tom has found a Victorian shed, the Nayland Rock Shelter, near the shore on Margate sands, that he can commute to each day by tram from Cliftonville. This will give him the seclusion he needs to work on the epic poem he has been trying to write since he moved to England more than seven years ago.
This beats the commute he has been doing every workday in noisy London from their Clarence Gate Gardens apartment in Marylebone to Moorgate station in east London and his job at Lloyds Bank. He enjoys the commute; but not the job.
Clarence Gate Gardens
His job, a two-month visit from his American family, and his insistence on trying to write this poem are taking their toll. Last month, Vivien arranged for Tom to be examined by one of the most celebrated nerve specialists in the country. The doctor strongly recommended that Eliot take two to three months off from everything. And everybody. Including Vivien. But she insisted on coming here with him.
The reputation of the doctor was the deciding factor. Lloyds agreed on the first of this month to grant Tom a three-month leave of absence, with full pay, to begin as soon as he trained his replacement, which he did last week.
Vivien is happy to be quit of London, describing their last night there with friends as
What a last impression of London…the monotony, the drivel of the whole stupid round.”
Now that they are in Margate, Tom is already eating better. And looking forward to digging in to commute to his beach shed each day to work on his as yet untitled poem. Vivien is planning to write to Scofield Thayer, 31, the editor of the American literary magazine TheDial, explaining that Tom will not be able to submit any more of his “London Letter” book reviews to the magazine until January at least.
But what will happen after their three-week stay here?
Tom is planning to take a holiday in Paris and bring along the “hoard of fragments” as he refers to the pencil scrawlings that are now the poem, to work on there with his fellow American friend and mentor, Ezra Pound, 35.
In addition, Viv has received advice from a friend of theirs who also suffers from depression, socialite and hostess, Lady Ottoline Morrell, 48. She has told them that the sickness leaves her “utterly dead & empty & it is like being in a cold fog—or a pond.” Ottoline has recommended a doctor in Switzerland who treated her brother.
Vivien wants Tom to go there after a few days in Paris.
Down in London, after much debate, Parliament has voted to return to the longer pub hours in force before The Great War, pleasing the pub owners but not the moral guardians of society.
And to emphasize the importance of Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, November 11, Field Marshall Douglas Haig, 60, has proposed declaring it Poppy Day. Citizens throughout the country will make their patriotism visible to all by wearing bright red poppies in their lapels.
Newlyweds Ernest, 22, and Hadley Hemingway, 29, have just returned to their cramped, gloomy, top floor walk-up apartment after a wonderful dinner with one of Ernest’s mentors, Sherwood Anderson, just turning 45.
1239 North Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois
Anderson represents the type of successful writer Ernie aspires to be. Two years ago Sherwood’s novel—really a collection of interwoven stories about one town, Winesburg, Ohio—was a big hit. Since then two short story collections have been big sellers as well. The most recent, The Triumph of theEgg: A Book of Impressions from American Life in Tales and Poems, includes 15 stories and seven photos of clay sculptures by Anderson’s wife, Tennessee Mitchell, 47, illustrating some of the characters.
Anderson is regularly published in The Dial literary magazine, where Hemingway regularly has his poems rejected.
Sherwood and Tennessee have just returned from their first trip to Europe and are filled with stories of the interesting people—mostly Americans—whom they became friends with there.
Sherwood and Tennessee Anderson
Ernest and Hadley are planning a trip to Europe also. But they want to move there permanently.
Ernie is making $200 a month as editor of the house organ for the Cooperative Commonwealth Society. But he is growing more suspicious of the organization every day. In addition to writing the Co-Op Notes, Personal Mentions and Insurance Notes sections in the newsletter, he’s been including coverage of the allegations of fraud brought against them.
Hadley, on the other hand, has a bit of a trust fund. And with the recent death of an uncle she never cared much for anyway, she will soon have an income of almost $300 a month.
Ernie knows he can count on the Toronto Star to continue to pay him for free-lance pieces, and he wants to show Hadley the places he was in Italy during the Great War. Including where he was injured. They have even bought some lira—at a great exchange rate—in preparation for their trip.
But Sherwood has a different idea. Forget Italy, he tells the young couple. France is equally inexpensive and the most interesting writers and artists of the time are flocking there.
Sherwood promises Ernest he will write letters of introduction for him so he can meet Anderson’s new ex-pat American friends on the Left Bank. Sylvia Beach, 34, from Princeton, New Jersey, runs a terrific English-language bookshop. Even more important, the modernist writer Gertrude Stein, 47, from San Francisco [via Pittsburgh]. Sherwood has been a big fan of her work for years and was thrilled to have long discussions with her about writing. He is contributing the preface to a major anthology of her pieces from the past decade, Geography and Plays, in hopes of getting her a wider American audience.
Back here in their depressing apartment, the Hemingways are re-thinking their plans. Anderson has convinced them.