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A. Huxley in Sanary 1.2

What I already knew of Aldous Huxley

Table of Contents

Discovering facts about Sanary before the II World War
Many years later, having just moved to Sanary, I was much surprised to hear about the German writers who had found shelter in this village, as well as the first account of Aldous Huxley’s sojourn during the 30’s until the day of 1937, when he left to begin the third phase of his writer’s life which led him to explore new philosophical paths. How in the world it never came to my knowledge that such a celebrity had lived a stone's throw from one of the favourite beaches of my youth? Simply because at that time hardly anybody knew, and those who knew kept it for themselves, as is often the case in the South.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, German historians and scholars have conducted studies on the German speaking intellectuals who had stayed in this little Provencal fishing village called by Ludwig MarcuseProfessor Ludwig Marcuse (February 8, 1894 in Berlin – August 2, 1971 in Bad Wiessee, Germany), was a philosopher and writer of Jewish origin. In 1962, his non-fiction book Obscene : The history of an indignation was published. The work revolves around leading obscenity trials: Friedrich Schlegel's Lucinde (Jena, 1799), Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary (Paris, 1857), Arthur Schnitzler's Round Dance (Berlin, 1920), D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley (London, 1960), and Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer (Los Angeles, 1962). A chapter is also devoted to the crusade of Anthony Comstock and the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, somewhat ironically; the ‘Capital of German Literature’. From the accession of Hitler to power in 1933, until the declaration of war in 1939, followed for most by the flight abroad or internment, dozens of writers, painters and poets did set foot in this part of the Riviera. Among the more famous were Bertold Bretchborn Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht February 10, 1898 – August 14, 1956) was an influential German socialist dramatist, stage director, and poet of the 20th century , Thomas MannPaul Thomas Mann (June 6, 1875 – August 12, 1955) was a German novelist, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and often ironic epic novels and mid-length stories, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and intellectual. His analysis and critique of the European and German soul use modernized German and Biblical stories, as well as the ideas of Goethe, Nietzsche, and Schopenhauer and wife Katia, his brother HeinrichLudwig Heinrich Mann (March 27, 1871 – March 12, 1950) was a German novelist who wrote works with social themes whose attacks on the authoritarian and increasingly militaristic nature of post-Weimar German society led to his exile in 1933 and the famous siblings, KlausBorn in Munich, Klaus Mann was the son of German writer Thomas Mann. He began writing short stories to become drama critic for a Berlin newspaper. His first literary works were published in 1925.
After only a short time in various schools, he travelled with his sister Erika Mann, a year older than himself, around the world, and visited the US in 1927. In 1933, Mann left Germany and moved to Amsterdam, having been stripped of German citizenship by the Nazi regime. He became a Czechoslovak citizen then went to Sanary with his family. In 1936, he moved to the United States, living in Princeton, New Jersey and New York. Mann became a US citizen in 1943.
He worked for the American army during World War II in Italy and returned to Germany after the war.
Mann's novel Der Vulkan is one of the 20th century's most famous novels about German exiles during WWII. He died in Cannes of an overdose of sleeping pills. He was buried there in the Cimetière du Grand Jas
and ErikaErika Julia Hedwig Mann (November 9, 1905 – August 27, 1969) was the eldest daughter of novelist Thomas Mann and Katia Mann, Arnold SweigArnold Zweig (November 10, 1887 – November 26, 1968) was a German writer and an active pacifist, brother of Stefan Sweig, Martha and Lion FeutchwangerLion Feuchtwanger (pseudonym: J.L. Wetcheek) (7 July 1884 - 21 December 1958) was a German-Jewish novelist who was imprisoned in a French internment camp in Les Milles and later escaped to Los Angeles with the help of his wife, Marta, Franz WerfelFranz Werfel (September 10, 1890 – August 26, 1945) was an Austrian-Bohemian novelist, playwright, and poet who wrote in German and his wife Alma-MahlerAlma Maria Mahler-Werfel (née Schindler) (August 31, 1879 – December 11, 1964) was noted in her native Vienna for her beauty and intelligence. In her youth she was an aspiring composer. She was the wife, successively, of one of the century's leading composers (Gustav Mahler), architects (Walter Gropius), and novelists (Franz Werfel) and lover to the painter Oskar Kokoschka to name but a few.

In 2004, following these studies, the city of Sanary-Sur-Mer published a booklet in three languages showcasing the most famous names and their respective fates in relation to the events which took place during the war, along with a map indicating the location of the villa in which they lived in 'l'Allée Thérèse'. A plaque with a picture and a short text was fixed on the site of each of the selected sites. If Aldous Huxley is only mentioned once, his nationality logically excluding him from the pack, he had the privilege to have one made in his name on the site where once stood the Villa Huxley.

The plexiglass plaque reads that the famous writer came to Sanary in 1929, that his home became an essential passage for the intellectual life of Sanary, and that he wrote BNW in 1932. None of the three informations was quite correct; Huxley published his novel in 1932 in London, but wrote it a full year earlier in La Gorguette. It is true that he came to Bandol first in 1929 with DH LawrenceDavid Herbert Lawrence (11 September 1885 - 2 March 1930) was an important and controversial English writer of the 20th century, whose prolific and diverse output included novels, short stories, poems, plays, essays, travel books, paintings, translations, literary criticism and personal letters. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, Lawrence confronts issues relating to emotional health and vitality, spontaneity, sexuality, and instinctive behaviour.
Lawrence's unsettling opinions earned him many enemies and he endured hardships, official persecution, censorship and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile he called his "savage pilgrimage."[1] At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E. M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as "the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation."[2] Later, the influential Cambridge critic F. R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness, placing much of Lawrence's fiction within the canonical "great tradition" of the English novel. He is now generally valued as a visionary thinker and a significant representative of modernism in English literature, although some feminists object to the attitudes toward women and sexuality found in his works
, but he only bought his house in March 1930 after the death in Vence of the author of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Finally, for the author of Music at night 1931, Beyond the Mexique Bay, his second travel diary (1934), and Eyeless in Gaza he painfully wrote between 1934 and 1936, ‘Villa Huxley’ was a place to meditate, read, study and write, certainly not a place to entertain the international community. If it is not inexact to say that a few close friends were regularly invited to the house; Paul Valery, Edith Warthon, Victoria Ocampo or the Noailles, Villa Huxley was not open to all, for Aldous needed to work regular hours, Sunday included.
Université Nancy II © Gilles Iltis 2005


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