Discipline: Literature

Herbert Gorman

Discipline: Literature
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 1921, 1922, 1923

Herbert Sherman Gorman (1893-1954) was James Joyce's first biographer and a prominent book reviewer for the New York Times. Upon arriving in New York in 1918, Gorman wrote and edited for many of the city's newspapers, including the New York Sun, the New York Evening Post, the New York Times, and the New York Herald-Tribune. The critic, novelist, and biographer often hosted his literary friends at his Greenwich Village apartment, a circle which included Stephen Vincent Benét and William Rose Benét, Floyd Dell, Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis, and Elinor Wylie. In addition to biographies of Joyce, Hawthorne, Longfellow, and Mary Queen of Scots, Gorman also wrote novels and verse.

James Joyce's autograph manuscript of "To Mrs. Herbert Gorman Who Complains that Her Visitors Kept Late Hours," with autograph commentary in another hand.

The titular "Mrs. Herbert Gorman" of Joyce's comic poem is Jean Wright. Wright was Gorman's first wife with whom he co-edited The Peterborough Anthology (1923), a collection of verse by the writers of the MacDowell artists' colony in New Hampshire. Joyce reputedly penned the poem for Wright after she complained to him about the length of the visits of John Holms and Peggy Guggenheim. The poem also perhaps presciently captures a tension in the Gorman household; Gorman and Wright would divorce a year later in 1932. As the marriage was breaking up, Gorman moved to Paris where he and his second wife, Claire Crawford, would spend much time with the Joyce's. Gorman wrote two biographies of the Irish writer: James Joyce: His First Forty Years (1924) and James Joyce: A Biography (1940).



Herbert Gorman worked in the Barnard studio.

Originally built near MacDowell's Union Street entrance, the Barnard Studio — which was funded by Barnard College music students — was re-located to its current site in 1910. When the small structure was moved, its size was doubled with the addition of a second room. This remodeling, financed by Mrs. Thomas E. Emery of Cincinnati…

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