Louisa Deasey recently got in contact to tell me about the connection between her father, the author Denison Deasey, and Richard Aldington. She wrote:
I recently found hundreds of my dad’s diaries and letters in the library in Victoria. There is a lot of correspondence with / diary entries around his time in St Clair when Aldington lived at Aucassin – 1948-1951 particularly. Aldington influenced my dad’s life very strongly, inspiring him to become a writer and draft his first books, encouraging him and writing to him an awful lot until his death in 1962. My dad wrote the memoir “Lunch At The Villa” which was published in 1981, in the Bulletin. It was based on the time he met Aldington and Kershaw was working as his secretary in the south of France.
Louisa is writing a book about her discovery of this archive, which will be published by Scribe in 2018. She continues:
What set me on the whole treasure hunt for Aucassin / Aldington’s granddaughters was that i found a small pil of black and white photos of Aldington and Catha in France in the 40s and 50s in dad’s collection. I’d never known who they were of… until I started looking into the library material…
As part of my research, I travelled to St Clair in March. I met a lovely man named Raphael Dupouy there, and he took me to the Villa Aucassin, where Aldington lived, and where dad stayed in 1948/49/50. I also met Sylvain – Alister Kershaw’s son – in Paris. He really wanted to come with me to Aucassin (he would have been so welcome, as he works as a French/English translator and, as it was, Raphael and I had much difficulty communicating!) but he’d already booked a trip to Spain for the dates I was in Saint Clair.
Raphael Dupouy is the cultural director for Lavandou Tourisme, and he is writing an article on my trip / the Aldington links, which will be published in August. It will be in French, in a publication called Figue Libre – he took some photos of me at Aucassin, too.
That article can be found at the Figue Libre website. It’s on page 4 of the current issue (no. 39). You’ll have to dust off your French, though, as Louisa says!