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A. Huxley in Sanary 3.3

Throughout Europe in search of elements

Table of Contents

In between exams, and by special arrangement with the Aldous Huxley Estates representative in Los Angeles I scheduled myself a fruitful research journey, which took me from Nancy to Brussels, to Münster and Paris. My working axis was to locate and copy every available source mentioning Sanary, to find after analysis if there was any information left out. The goal was to document at best the period and build a solid chronology mentioning every events, meetings, publications, travels in which Huxley was involved in.

"Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 12:11:49
Subject: Re: Visit to the Royal Library in Brussels
Prof. Dr Bernfried Nugel of the Huxley venue at Munster is a good friend of mine; no problem there. If you need something signed, I have Power of Attormey'
Am having dinner in New York (June 4h) with Franziska (Mrs Matthew)
Trevanian and Tessa, Matt's children.

Best, Dorris

I knew Maria had never stopped writing letters and the main bulk of her correspondence was filed in the Nys Fund at the Royal Library in Brussels. I traveled there and I was able to copy informative letters which completed and sometimes matched the Italian ones sent to Gulia before and after the war. Obviously Maria’s letters did not compete with those of Aldous in terms of style and content, but hers were lively, peppered with eccentric spelling mistakes, full of trivial details and heart-breaking observations on the state of the World and the difficulty to communicate with the loved one. They reflected very well however the state of mind of the ever expatriate couple at a given time.

The Center for Aldous Huxley Studies ( CAHS ) located in the German University of Münster gave me access to all the documents and allowed me to copy numerous pages of texts related to the author. Its director Doctor Banfred Nugel, one the most reputed specialists on Huxley has assembled in his center a large number of publications, first editions and original works of the author. This short visit to the Center made me understand the size and scope of Huxley’s work and his importance in the community of writers. Aldous Huxley’s books will never stop being analysed and studied, because he had always been a visionary, there is a chance that decades after his death he will meet again with success, the fact that he is being translated into Chinese is a sign.
During this visit Doctor Nugel provided me with information on the biographical works been already made, and a clear encouragement for my own project. I understood that the possibility of an article in the Huxley Annual was not excluded. The photographs I showed him were definitely a surprise, and through Doctor Nugel I could foresee the reactions of Huxley lovers.

In Paris I visited the Société des Auteurs Compositeurs Dramatiques, SACD, whose member Georges Neveux, a well-known French director and Huxley’s brother-in-law had made a theatre adaptation of Aldous’ Gioconda Smile (1948). As they had left for America, the Huxleys feared that the Germans in case of war would damage ‘Villa Huxley’, knowing that he was a British citizen.
First they had the name on the gatepost removed but finally they found it wiser to get rid of the house. It was Georges Neveux and Jeanine Nys Neveux, Maria’s favourite sister, who sold ‘Villa Huxley’ to buy a more discreet house La Rustique, which still exists under another name in the Chemin du Diable at the entrance of the village. It was to this villa that Maria sent all the food parcels, which saved Noele, her niece during the war. It was in La Rustique that Aldous and Maria stayed whenever they returned to Sanary.

In the Neveux Fund I searched for entries related to Huxley. After consultation a correspondence supposedly informative between the two authors, proved to be of no avail. Also the visit to Noele Neveux who despite the fact that she knew all the actors of the family story very well, had kept a close lid on any memorabilia, for sentimental reasons. Later on I visited the Bibliothèque Nationale where a rare study of André Dommergues brought me original views on Aldous’ personality, the visit was worth it.


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