Happy Bloomsday! James Joyce in Dublin and Paris
“…and say my glory was I had such friends.” –William Butler Yeats
Compiled by Kathleen Dixon Donnelly, Ph.D.
Carlos Baker, ed. Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters, 1917-61. New York: Scribner’s, 1981. Hemingway stipulated that his letters never be published, so biographers had to awkwardly paraphrase them. By 1981, Baker persuaded his widow Mary that he would be better served by having his words in print. They’re great.
Sylvia Beach. Shakespeare & Co. Harcourt Brace & World, 1959. Her unique perspective of a unique time and place. Delightful.
Kay Boyle and Robert McAlmon. Being Geniuses Together, 1920-1930. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1984. Kay Boyle was on the fringe of the group of “little mags” and had a relationship with the consumptive Ernest Walsh, editor of This Quarterly. The book alternates her memoirs with McAlmon’s and is just fascinating.
Richard Ellman. James Joyce. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982. The standard biography by the same scholar who wrote the standard Yeats biography.
Noel Riley Fitch. Sylvia Beach and The Lost Generation. W. W. Norton & Co., 1983. A really detailed look at everyone in Paris at the time, with Beach and James Joyce as the central characters. Better than a novel.
Noel Riley Fitch. Walks in Hemingway’s Paris. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989. Includes both the Left and Right Bank. A great way to find all the good spots.
Janet Flanner [Genet]. Paris Was Yesterday: 1925-1939. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Jovanovich, 1972. A collection of most of her columns from The New Yorker during these years, with her later annotations.
Gisele Freund and V. B. Carleton. James Joyce in Paris: The Final Years. New York: Harcourt Brace & World, 1965. Freund talked Joyce into a few days of being photographed in black and white and they are finally published here along with other wonderful pictures of Paris and others in the late 30s.
Mary Ellen Jordan Haight. Paris Portraits: Renoir to Chanel Walks on the Right Bank. Salt Lake City, UT: Perrigrine Smith Books. 1991. Wonderful walking tours that include some Joyce-ian places.
Mary Ellen Jordan Haight. Walks in Gertrude Stein’s Paris. Salt Lake City, UT: Perrigrine Smith Books. 1988. A Left Bank version.
Ernest Hemingway. A Moveable Feast. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1964. His version of events, as he remembered them years later.
James Joyce. Ulysses. New York: Random House, 1961. The standard US version. This edition includes the 1933 landmark decision by Judge Woolsey.
James R. Mellow. Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein & Company. Avon Books, 1974. Excellent and winner of a National Book Award. The best overall book about this time and these characters.
B. L. Reid. The Man from New York: John Quinn & His Friends. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1968. Read it if you must, but it’s a slog and it makes this absolutely fascinating man seem so boring. I would love to write a decent biography of him.
Michael Reynolds. Hemingway: The Paris Years. Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, 1989. Part of a five-volume tour de force, by a terrific biographer with lots of great details about Paris at the time.
Linda Simon. The Biography of Alice B. Toklas. London: Peter Owen, 1978. Alice deserved a full biography in her own right and this is it.
Sanford J Smoller. Adrift Among Stars: Robert McAlmon, Writer and Publisher of the Twenties. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1975. The only real biography of McAlmon, who was one of Joyce’s best friends.
Diane Souhami. Gertrude & Alice. Pandora, 1991. Better than a biography of either one of them, the author writes about both equally and, most interesting, about their incredible relationship.
Gertrude Stein. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. New York: Vintage Books, 1990. If you’ve ever been afraid to read Stein, this is the place to start. Definitely her point of view, but a wonderful romp.
Andrew Turnbull. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1962. One of the better standard biographies.
Amanda Vaill. “Everybody Was So Young”: Gerald and Sara Murphy, A Lost Generation Love Story. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Co., 1998. She’s not a Fitzgerald fan, but she really captures the Murphy’s special elegance amid gaiety and tragedy.
Paul Vanderhaven. James Joyce & Censorship: The Trials of Ulysses. New York: New York University Press, 1998. Details the legal case and its ramifications.
William White, ed., By-Line: Ernest Hemingway. New York: Scribner’s, 1967. A good selection of his actual dispatches throughout his career, including Spain. His 1923 report from Pamplona reads like a first draft for parts of The Sun Also Rises.
Video Tips and a Warning!
Midnight in Paris. Apparently Woody Allen is as much in love with Paris in the 1920s as I am. Owen Wilson plays the writer who gets to hang out with Stein, Hemingway, Fitzgerald Man Ray and their ‘such friends.’ Not completely accurate, but lots of good inside jokes.
Paris Was a Woman, A Film by Greta Schiller. A Zeitgeist Films Release. 1996. Wonderful documentary about the many women, American and British, who went to Paris in the 1920s to get away from bad marriages. This is the one I showed clips from on the ship.
The Lost Generation. A&E Television Networks. A good overview of the era and the American writers who went to France in the 1920s.
The Moderns by director Alan Rudolph is the only film about Stein’s salon that I know of. In my opinion, it looks beautiful and authentic, but the characters and dialogue are really bad. Watch it with the sound off. However, his film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle is a great depiction of Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table.
The Left Bank and the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris are great to walk around, and many of the cafes are still in business. Although their prices have increased. You can arrange tours, or use one of the guidebooks listed here. If you want to do it right, I’ll take you!