A series of letters to art historian and biographer Auguste Bréal.Roquebrune, London, Nice, etc., 1919-40 Stock Code: 114757
NotesDorothy Bussy (née Strachey) had translated Bréal's book on Velazquez back in 1905 and the present letters have an easy intimacy throughout. In the first she introduces J. M. Keynes "(pronounced Canes) He is something of a swell an intimate friend of my brother Lytton's, Duncan Grant's chief patron, the headquarters in fact of all the Bloomsbury gang has the most erroneous ideas about the French. This is not unnatural as he understands very little of the language". Later she provides "a letter to Lady Colefax. She is very much laughed at for her lion-hunting proclivities, but all the same she catches them all Berenson is, when in a good temper, prodigiously interesting". Much of the rest is devoted to literary enthusiasms - for Goethe, Norman Douglas (his books if not his vices), Samuel Butler, Florio's versions of Montaigne (Gide's essay on whom she translates). Her highest praise is reserved for Moby Dick, "one of the few works of genius in the world", while "As for Colonel Lawrence, his works are too expensive for me to possess". She happily undertakes the translation of Bréal's life of Philippe Berthelot, and in the last letter present reports from London: "the Queen bought two of Duncan's pictures at a recent exhibition. Does this mean Duncan's art is deteriorating or H.M.'s taste improving?".
Simon Bussy writes little of his own work nor of literary matters, beyond recommending A High Wind in Jamaica and some detailed comments on Bréal's Cheminements, but he provides useful glimpses of personalities, including Gide ("un vrai ami et bien different du Gide de la legende") and Somerset Maugham. He notes Matisse's desire to be simultaneously a member of the establishment and a revolutionary; reports Roger Fry's slightly mysterious death; Roger Martin du Gard's post-Nobel attempts at anonymity. In London they meet Georges Cattaui and go "boire un café arabe, chez lui, fait par un superbe Nubien". In France he notes Ottoline Morrell's travel needs: "eglises anciennes, des montagnes a pie, des ecrevisses et des gorges".
Dorothy Bussy: 15 autograph letters (one incomplete), signed or initialled; 2 pages foolscap, 21 pages small quarto, 9 pages octavo. Simon Bussy: 28 autograph letters, signed or initialled; 4 pages quarto, 42 pages octavo, 5 pages duodecimo; his letters in French, but four letters with holograph postscripts added by DB in English.
With an autograph letter signed, to Bréal from Lt. Colonel (Foreign Legion) Pechkoff - said to be son of Maxim Gorki (2 pages octavo. Meknes, 1937), extolling the book on Berthelot and affectionately reminiscing.
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