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

Irish novelist James Joyce, 39, has been working hard to finish his controversial novel Ulysses. But now he is in incredible pain.

A few nights ago he was, as usual, out drinking with one of his supporters [financially and morally], American writer and owner of the Contact press, Robert McAlmon, 25. The two ex-pats were making the rounds of their favorite drinking places when Joyce suddenly fainted and went limp.

McAlmon had brought him back home here, where he’s been living for the past month, down the long gravelly driveway through the big iron gate, which requires a huge metal key.

71 rue de Cardinal Lemoine

The next morning, Joyce woke up with a severe attack of iritis. The pressure inside his eye had him rolling on the floor in pain.

Even having a light on is painful. Joyce is now forced to rest and recuperate in this terrific third-floor apartment belonging to one of his French fans, the poet Valery Larbaud, also 39. Larbaud is on holiday until October, so has offered this luxurious flat rent-free to the Joyce family. Of the 22 different addresses the Joyces have had while James has been working on Ulysses, this is definitely the most posh.

Joyce has been making good progress, but he’s not sure that he will make the announced October publication date for his novel. This most recent eye attack will set him back. And there is another hold up from the printer. They are running out of certain letters that appear more in English than they do in French—e, h, w and y. Who knew?

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I am talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at the University of Pittsburgh. In the fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Ireland and England before the Great War in the Osher program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

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

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

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, early May, 1921, Left Bank, Paris

Everyone’s coming to Paris…

American ex-patriate writer Robert McAlmon, 26, and his new British wife, Bryher, 26, have moved to Paris after visiting her wealthy family in London for their honeymoon.

Bryher

Bob is planning to use his wife’s inheritance, along with the allowance her family is giving him, to start a small publishing company, Contact Press, named after the Contact magazine he founded in New York late last year with a fellow poet.

When they first got to Paris, the McAlmons made a point of visiting the English-language bookstore, Shakespeare & Co. on the Left Bank, and signing up as members of the lending library. They are using the shop as an address and stopping by every day to pick up their mail.

There is a real buzz in the store. The owner, another American ex-pat, Sylvia Beach, 33, is working on a major project. She has offered to publish Ulysses, the latest work by Irish novelist James Joyce, 39, even though excerpts from it were recently ruled obscene in New York City when they appeared in The Little Review there.

Sylvia Beach at Shakespeare & Co.

McAlmon and Joyce have become good friends. In London, Bob had received a letter of introduction from Harriet Shaw Weaver, 44, one of his benefactors and owner of The Egoist Press, to meet the Irish novelist. He and Bryher have been supporting the Joyces with a $150 per month stipend, and McAlmon is helping to type parts of the—very messy—manuscript as Joyce writes it.

At the shop, everyone is pitching in to mail out a prospectus and order forms to potential subscribers to Ulysses, which is planned to come out in the fall. As orders come in, Beach records them in separate green record books for each country. The biggest single order—25 copies—has come from the Washington Square Bookshop in Greenwich Village, one of the original defendants in the obscenity case. Bryher is helping out by setting up a system of alphabetical pigeon holes for the incoming mail.

At night, McAlmon and Joyce, sometimes joined by French writer Valery Larbaud, 39, make the rounds of the clubs and dance halls. They particularly like Gipsy’s on the Boulevard St. Michel. McAlmon staggers from table to table getting drunken patrons to fill out order forms for the novel. He brings what he calls another “Hasty Bunch” of signed forms to the shop on his way home early in the morning, after having been thrown out of the last club along with his two comrades. Sylvia can barely make out the scrawly handwriting.

McAlmon is popular on the Left Bank for his charming personality, of course, but also because he can buy the drinks. Lots of drinks. He and Larbaud had to bring Joyce home one night in a wheelbarrow. Joyce’s partner and mother of his children, Nora Barnacle, 37, admonished him,

Jim, what is it all ye find to jabber about the nights you’re brought home drunk for me to look after? You’re dumb as an oyster now, so God help me.”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume 1 covering 1920 is available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I will be talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with 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, February 21, 1921, Court of Special Sessions, New York City, New York; and Left Bank, Paris

The Little Review’s founder and publisher, Margaret Anderson, 34, and editor, Jane Heap, 37, are back in court with their pro bono lawyer, John Quinn, 50, to hear the verdict of the three-judge panel in their trial for publishing in their magazine allegedly “obscene” excerpts from Ulysses, the work in progress of Irish novelist James Joyce, 39, currently in Paris.

The judges have spent the week since the trial reading the whole “Nausicaa” episode which has been published in three issues of The Little Review last year.

Guilty. Pay a $100 fine and don’t publish any more episodes of Ulysses. End of.

*****

In Paris, French poet Valery Larbaud, 39, has been reading the sections of Ulysses in The Little Review which his friend, American ex-patriate bookseller Sylvia Beach, 33, has recommended to him. He can’t believe it. Joyce is a genius. Every bit as great as Rabelais. Larbaud hasn’t been this excited by an author since he first read Walt Whitman as a teenager. He has to write to Sylvia and ask:  Maybe Mr. Joyce will allow him to translate some segments into French?!

Valery Larbaud

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I—1920 is available on Amazon in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I will be talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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, Christmas Eve, December 24, 1920, 8 rue Dupuytren, Left Bank, Paris

It’s been a good year for American ex-patriate bookstore owner Sylvia Beach, 33.

Her shop, Shakespeare & Co., has been open here for more than a year now, despite economic uncertainty in the city. She wrote recently to her sister back in New Jersey:

My business is maintaining itself in spite of crashes all about. The Bon Marche, the Louvre, the Printemps, different automobile manufacturers and other goods are tottering on the brink. The Galeries [Lafayette] are very low indeed they do say. No one will buy anything till the prices drop and the manufacturers and shops are left with floods of stuff on their hands which they would rather hold on to than sell at a sacrifice—naturellement.”

Galeries Lafayette Catalogue

She has seen an increase in both the subscribers to her lending library and the other American and British ex-patriates who gather in her shop.

Beach has taken on one particular Irish writer, James Joyce, 38, as a special project. She loved his novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and has been supporting him now that he is working on a formidable opus, Ulysses.

This year it has been serialized in a “little mag” in New York City, The Little Review, but issues have been confiscated by the authorities and the publisher and editor are awaiting trial on obscenity charges!

From talking with Joyce, Sylvia knows that the magazine’s lawyer, John Quinn, 50, who buys up pieces of the original manuscript as Joyce writes it, is trying to convince the stubborn Irishman to withdraw his novel from The Little Review, and have a legitimate American publisher—like Huebsch or Boni and Liveright—bring out a private edition of the whole work when it is finished. This would be treated differently under the law, as it wouldn’t be sent through the mail, as the magazine is.

Joyce is having none of it. He sends cryptic cables to Quinn, written in code, and Quinn telegraphs back, exasperated.

Today, Beach has arranged a special meeting for Joyce.

Sylvia and her partner, Adrienne Monnier, 28, who owns the nearby French language bookshop, La Maison des Amis des Livres, have been trying to introduce Joyce into the literary life of Paris. Today they have invited Valery Larbaud, 39, the posh French poet, who recently gave a talk in Adrienne’s store, to meet Joyce. Larbaud was impressed by Portrait, which he read on Sylvia’s recommendation, and has expressed a desire to meet the author.

James Joyce, Sylvia Beach, and Adrienne Monnier in Shakespeare & Co.

Larbaud has many influential friends in the French literary establishment, and Sylvia and Adrienne think the two men will hit it off.

Tomorrow, they are going with Larbaud to an elegant midnight Christmas party with some of their other French friends, including the well-known poet Leon-Paul Fargue, 44, and the novelist Luc Durtain, 39.

Sylvia has already made her New Year’s resolutions which will make 1921 even better:  No more coffee, tea or cigarettes. Lots more nights at the Ballets Russes and Comedie Francaise.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, soon to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. Early next year I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

My presentations, The Founding of the Abbey Theatre and Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, are available to view for free on the website of PICT Classic Theatre.

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