Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Mr Selfridge newspaper editor is based on Frank Harris

Posted in Mr Selfridge newspaper editor is based on Frank Harris by sheelanagigcomedienne on February 26, 2014

 

sam west   mr selfridge     We have been watching the TV series Mr Selfridge. Mr Selfridge.   Our Aonghus has been an extra in it. I checked the cast list and was intrigued by Sam West’s ( Sam is a Battersea lad) character, newspaper editor and publisher called Frank Edwards, who was based on an intriguing  man called Frank Harris who was born in Galway. He had a fascinating life and amazingly he seemed to have emigrated to America when he was thirteen. frank harris     Frank Harris (February 14, 1856 – August 27, 1931) was an editor, journalist and publisher who was friendly with many well-known figures of his day. Born in Ireland, he emigrated to America early in life, working in a variety of unskilled jobs before attending the University of Kansas to read law. He eventually became a citizen there. After graduation he quickly tired of his legal career and returned to Europe in 1882. He travelled on continental Europe before settling in London to pursue a career in journalism. Though he attracted much attention during his life for his irascible, aggressive personality, editorship of famous periodicals, and friendship with the talented and famous, he is remembered mainly for his multiple-volume memoir My Life and Loves, which was banned in countries around the world for its sexual explicitness. life and loves 2

My life and loves : Harris, Frank, 1855-1931 : Free Download

Frank HarrisFrank Harris was born James Thomas Harris in Galway February 14, 1856 of Welsh parents. His father, Thomas Vernon Harris, was a Naval Officer from Fishguard, Wales. While living with his older brother he was, for a year or more, a pupil at the Royal School Armagh. At the age of 12 he was sent to Wales to continue his education as a boarder at the Ruabon Grammar School, a time he was to remember later in My Life and Loves. Harris was unhappy at the school and ran away within a year. Harris ran away to the United States in late 1869, arriving in New York  virtually penniless. The 13-year old took a series of odd jobs to support himself, working first as a boot black, a porter,  a general laborer, and a construction worker who assisted with the erection of the Brooklyn Bridge ] Harris would later turn these early occupational experiences into art, incorporating tales from them into his book The Bomb. From New York Harris moved to the American midwest, settling in, Chicago. There Harris took a job as a hotel clerk and eventually a manager.  Owing to Chicago’s central place in the meat packing industry, Harris made the acquaintance of various cattlemen, who inspired him to leave the big city to take up work as a cowboy. Harris eventually grew tired of life in the cattle industry and enrolled at the University of Kansas. He studied law and earned a degree, gaining admission to the Kansas state bar association. In 1878 he married Florence Ruth Adams, who died the following year. Harris was not cut out to be a lawyetr and soon decided to turn his attention to literature. He returned to England in 1882, later traveling to various cities in Germany, Austria, France and Greece on his literary quest. He worked briefly as an American newspaper correspondent before settling down in England to seriously pursue the vocation of journalism. Harris first came to general notice as the editor of a series of London papers including the  Evening News, the Fortnightly Review and the Saturday Review, the last-named being the high point of his journalistic career, with H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw as regular contributors. From 1908 to 1914 Harris concentrated on working as a novelist, authoring a series of popular books such as The Bomb, The Man Shakespeare, and The Yellow Ticket and Other Stories With the advent of WW1 in the summer of 1914, Harris decided to return to the United States. From 1916 to 1922 he edited the U.S. edition of Pearson’s Magazine, a popular monthly which combined short story fiction with sociialist-tinted features on contemporary news topics. One issue of the publication was banned from the mails by Postmaster General during the period of American participation in the European war. Despite this Harris managed to navigate the delicate situation which faced the left wing press and to keep the Pearson’s functioning and solvent during the war years. widle Harris became an American citizen in April, 1921. In 1922 he travelled to Berlin to publish his best-known work, his autobiography My Life and Loves (published in four volumes, 1922–1927). It is notorious for its graphic descriptions of Harris’ purported sexual encounters and for its exaggeration of the scope of his adventures and his role in history. A fifth volume, supposedly taken from his notes but of doubtful provenance, was published in 1954, long after his death. Harris also wrote short stories and novels, two books on Shakespeare, a series of biographical sketches in five volumes under the title Contemporary Portraits and biographies of his friends. George Bernard Shaw.

shaw

In the intro to his own Life and Loves he said Shaw ‘assures me that no one is good enough or bad enough to tell the naked truth about himself; but I am beyond good  and evil in that respect.  As literary editor and author he was the perfect Boswell to Wilde’s Johnson in the London literary scene; he also was one of the few who remained loyal to Wilde after his conviction in 1895 and his release from jail two years later. Colorful, opinionated, sympathetic, and always frank, Harris’s provocative biography vividly re-creates the celebrated wit and conversationalist.

Forgotten Londoners: Frank Harris, editor, prisoner and

He joined the Social Democratic Federation with Tom Mann, John Burns, Eleanor Marx, George Lnasbury Edward Avelong Ben Tillet etc. In 1883 he was appointed editor of The London Evening News. By this time he had left the SDF but the newspaper did run several campaigns against poverty. Harris developed a reputation as being hostile to the aristocracy with his emphasis on society scandals. Michael Holroyd pointed out: “He (Harris) quadrupled its circulation by sending his journalists to the police courts, and startling his readers with alluring headlines, Extraordinary Charge Against a Clergyman and Gross Outrage on a Female. It was Harris who had reported in scabrous detail the divorce case of Lady Colin Campbell, receiving an indictment for obscene libel that assisted the paper’s Tory proprietor in dismissing him in 1886.” Soon afterwards he became the editor of The Fortnightly Review. Harris married Emily Clayton on 2nd November 1887. She was the widow of Thomas Greenwood Clayton, a successful businessman. He intended to use her fortune of £90,000 to launch his political career. He joined the Conservative Party and became the prospective candidate in South Hackney. However, he withdrew his candidature in 1891, after supporting Charles Stewart Parnell in the O’Shea divorce.

frankandnelliealfrescoFrank and ellen

Harris appointed  Shaw and Beerbohm as drama critics for Fortnightly Review. He also published long articles by Shaw (Socialism and Superior Brains) and Wilde (The Soul of Man Under Socialism) about socialism. Harris also continued to campaign against the aristocracy and financial corruption. This made him many enemies and in 1894 he was sacked by Frederick Chapman, the owner of the journal, for publishing an article by Charles Malato, an anarchist who praised political murder as “propaganda… by deed”.  Harris now purchased The Saturday Review. The author, HG Wells, got to know him during this period: “His dominating way in conversation startled, amused and then irritated people. That was what he lived for, talking, writing that was loud talk in ink, and editing. He was a brilliant editor, for a time, and then the impetus gave out, and he flagged rapidly. So soon as he ceased to work vehemently he became unable to work. He could not attend to things without excitement. As his confidence went, he became clumsily loud.” Once again he appointed Shawas his drama critic on a salary of £6 a week. Shaw later commented that was “not bad pay in those days” and added that Harris was “the very man for me, and I the very man for him”. Shaw’s hostile reviews led to some managements withdrawing their free seats. Some of the book reviewers were so severe that publishers withdrew their advertisements. Harris was forced to sell the journal for financial reasons in 1898. Michael Holroyd has argued: “There had been a number of libel cases and rumours of blackmail – later put down by Shaw to Harris’s innocence of English business methods.” Margot and Herbert Asquith also met him at this time. Margot recalled in her autobiography: “He sat like a prince – with his sphinx-like imperviousness to bores – courteous and concentrated on the languishing conversation. I made a few gallant efforts; and my husband, who is particularly good on these self-conscious occasions, did his best… but to no purpose.” According to his biographer, Richard Davenport-Hines  Harris had a complicated sex life: “In 1898 Harris was maintaining a ménage at St Cloud with an actress named May Congden, with whom he had a daughter, together with a house at Roehampton containing Nellie O’Hara, with whom he possibly also had a daughter (who died young). He seems to have had other daughters with different women. O’Hara was his helpmate and âme damnée for over thirty years. Apparently the natural daughter of Mary Mackay and a drunkard named Patrick O’Hara, she was a clumsy schemer, battening onto Harris in the hope of millions but encouraging him in self-destructive and rascally courses.” Nellie and Harris.  In August 1913, Harris began a magazine entitled, Modern Society. He employed Enid Bagnold as a staff writer. She later recalled: “He was an extraordinary man. He had an appetite for great things and could transmit the sense of them. He was more like a great actor than a man of heart. He could simulate anything. While he felt admiration he could act it, and while he acted it, he felt it. And greatness being his big part, he hunted the centuries for it, spotting it in literature, in passion, in action.” She added: “His theory was that women love ugly men. He made sin seem glorious. He was surrounded by rascals. It was better than meeting good men. The wicked have such glamour for the young.” Hugh Kingsmill wrote a bigraphy of Harris in the thirties.

‘An extremely fine piece of work … out of this candid recognition of weakness there comes a living portrait which has made at least one reader who found Frank Harris’s personality violently antipathetic understand why a great many people adored him and forgave him.’ Rebecca West, Daily Telegraph ‘Hugh Kingsmill’s biography of Frank Harris … is adroit, rather malicious and very entertaining. Little did poor Harris realise, when he was busy roaring his own praises at this young man, that he would be served up with such sauce.’ J. B. Priestley, Evening Standard – See more at: http://www.faber.co.uk/catalog/frank-harris/9780571255047#sthash.iHz8uOFI.dpuf
An extremely fine piece of work … out of this candid recognition of weakness there comes a living portrait which has made at least one reader who found Frank Harris’s personality violently antipathetic understand why a great many people adored him and forgave him.’ Rebecca West, Daily Telegraph – See more at: http://www.faber.co.uk/catalog/frank-harris/9780571255047#sthash.iHz8uOFI.dpuf
An extremely fine piece of work … out of this candid recognition of weakness there comes a living portrait which has made at least one reader who found Frank Harris’s personality violently antipathetic understand why a great many people adored him and forgave him.’ Rebecca West, Daily Telegraph – See more at: http://www.faber.co.uk/catalog/frank-harris/9780571255047#sthash.iHz8uOFI.dpuf
An extremely fine piece of work … out of this candid recognition of weakness there comes a living portrait which has made at least one reader who found Frank Harris’s personality violently antipathetic understand why a great many people adored him and forgave him.’ Rebecca West, Daily Telegraph – See more at: http://www.faber.co.uk/catalog/frank-harris/9780571255047#sthash.iHz8uOFI.dpuf
An extremely fine piece of work … out of this candid recognition of weakness there comes a living portrait which has made at least one reader who found Frank Harris’s personality violently antipathetic understand why a great many people adored him and forgave him.’ Rebecca West, Daily Telegraph – See more at: http://www.faber.co.uk/catalog/frank-harris/9780571255047#sthash.iHz8uOFI.dpuf
An extremely fine piece of work … out of this candid recognition of weakness there comes a living portrait which has made at least one reader who found Frank Harris’s personality violently antipathetic understand why a great many people adored him and forgave him.’ Rebecca West, Daily Telegraph – See more at: http://www.faber.co.uk/catalog/frank-harris/9780571255047#sthash.iHz8uOFI.dpuf
An extremely fine piece of work … out of this candid recognition of weakness there comes a living portrait which has made at least one reader who found Frank Harris’s personality violently antipathetic understand why a great many people adored him and forgave him.’ Rebecca West, Daily Telegraph – See more at: http://www.faber.co.uk/catalog/frank-harris/9780571255047#sthash.iHz8uOFI.dpuf
Drawing by Max Beerbohm of Frank Harris and himself at dinner. Beerbohm wrote: “The Best Talker in London, with one of his best listeners”

Harris now moved to Nice. After the death of his second wife he married Nellie O’Hara. Harris’s response to becoming sexually impotent was to write an autobiography about his sex life. Harris told Shaw “I am going to see if a man can tell the truth naked and unashamed about himself and his amorous adventures in the world.” The first volume of My Life and Loves  was published in 1922. The first volume was burnt by customs officials and the second volume resulted in him being charged with corrupting public morals.

By 1913, Harris was editing a magazine called Modern Society and was charged with prejudicing a trial after publishing an ongoing divorce case.  ’It seems to me you have a certain disdain for this court,’ noted the judge during his trial. ‘Oh, if I could only express all the disdain I have,’ replied Harris.That did it. Harris refused to apologise publicly and was sent to Brixton Prison for contempt. The cartoonist Max Beerbohm visited Harris in Brixton and drew a cartoon, ‘To the best talker in London – from one of his best listeners’. Prints were made and posted all over London in a bid to raise public awareness with the message: ‘This is the man that was sent to prison.’Harris was released after three months, complaining afterwards that ‘what I suffered most from in prison was lack of books’. Shortly after his release he left London and never lived there again. He died in Nice in 1931.
He was a not a religious believer. In his biography he wrote. ‘The religion that has has directed or was supposed to direct our conduct for nineteen centuries has been finally discarded……The silly sex-morality of Paul has brought discredit to ….Paul was impotent ..wished that all men were. Paul and the Christian churches have dirtied desire, degraded women, debased procreation, vulgarised and villified the best instinct in us’
original atheists
He features in this book.
Cultural references
Cole Porter’s song “After All, I’m Only a Schoolgirl” references Harris and “My Life and Loves”, in a tale about a girl who is learning about adult relationships from a private tutor.
French writer and diplomat Paul Morand met an aged Frank Harris in Nice in 1920 and borrowed much of his personnality to create the character of O’Patah, a larger than life writer, publisher and Irish patriot, “the last of the irish bards” in his short story La nuit de Portofino kulm (part of the famed collection of short stories fermé la nuit published in 1923 by Gallimard.
Harris appeared as a character in the play OSCAR WILDE written by Leslie and Sewell Stokes, at the Fulton Theatre, New York, 1938, starring Robert Morley  in the title role.He is seen as a minor character in The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960) played by Paul Rogers. Harris had specifically warned Wilde against prosecuting Queensberry for criminal libel, which led to his downfall.
The feature film Cowboy (1958) is an adaptation of the semi-autobiographical novel My Reminiscences as a Cowboy. Harris is played by Jack Lemmon.
Cowboy
Harris featured in an episode of The Edwardians (1972), he was played by John Bennett. Daisy, mistress of Edward VII and a convert to Socialism looks back at her life as she dictates her memoirs to Frank Harris.

On television, Harris was played by Leonard Rossiter in a 1978 BBC Play of the Week: Fearless Frank, or, Tidbits From The Life Of An AdventurerFearless FrankLeonard Rossiter (1978) – YouTube

He is a character in the 1997 Tom Stoppard play The Invention of Love, which deals with the life of AE Housman and the Oscar Wilde trials. He appears as a close friend of Wilde’s in the play by Moisés Kaufman: Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde. He appears in the first episode of the 2001 miniseries The Infinite Worlds of H. G. Wells, rejecting a story from Wells for being too long and too preposterous. Harris appears as a vampire in Kim Newman’s 1992 novel Anno Dracula, as the mentor and vampire sire of one of the novel’s main characters.

life and loves3
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