Tuesday, November 20, 2007

From the Texidor files

Last year brief printed a story by Greville Texidor, along with a fascinating essay on the background to the text. Texidor is one of the more enigmatic characters in Kiwi literary history. She fought against fascism in the Spanish Civil War as part of an anarchist militia, and then was persecuted by the British government when she fled Franco's victory.

Texidor escaped to Auckland's North Shore, where she spent the better part of a decade hanging with the Bohemian circle of writers and artists that had gathered around Frank Sargeson. She left these shores in 1948, and died by her own hand in Australia in 1964.

Texidor is perhaps most famous for holding a steak knife to Dennis Glover's throat at a boozy Auckland party, after the founder of Caxton Press had depreciated the significance of the Spanish war against fascism. She should be better known for her stories, which were championed and edited by Kendrick Smithyman and published by Auckland University Press under the title In Fifteen Minutes You Can Say A Lot.

Since Texidor's story 'San Toni' saw the light of day in brief #34, three different scholars have contacted the journal to discuss their research into her life and work. The latest is Oliver Slay, who sent us these remarkable photos, along with an explanation for his interest in Texidor:

Greville Texidor was my grandfather's first wife and I have been researching his life for about 8 years now. This started when I discovered the collection of Greville's at Auckland Uni library... (tho it took me 2 years to finally get there from London, UK). The collection contains 5 letters between my grandfather and Greville...

Greville's brother in law was John Joseph Sherry Mangan, a Time journalist, who covered Europe. I have ordered 120 letters between Manuel and 'Sherry'...and there are still over 200 letters more between Kate (Greville's sister) and Sherry and between Greville and Sherry...maybe one day I could extend this discussion further about Greville by ordering photocopies and working through the letters.

I enclose few pictures of Greville as a young dancer, as a model and above Tossa de Mar (i think) where she visited with Manuel (it was a favourite holiday place for famous artists away from Paris) and where she began her affair with Werner [Droescher]...
The photos are only a couple of the many that I have copies of...about 1999 when I started searching for the names on the list...Google brought up Auckland University and I made contact and discovered letters from my grandfather....and in about 2005 I finally made it to Auckland from England to pick up photocopies...and visit her old house in North Shore etc...

Thanks for the photos, Oliver - they're beautiful, as well as historically interesting.


Blogger Oliver Slay i Texidor said...


You're welcome.

I'll be posting a few more up on Flickr at some point in the future.


6:40 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi this is a message for Oliver Slay - I'm a photo researcher from Stuff (formerly Fairfax Media) and have been asked by Your Weekend to find images of Greville Texidor for a profile of her which will be featured this month. Do you have high res scans of these photos on the blog which would be available to publish in this magazine insert please? If you would like to contact me in a less public space, my email here is: angela.espley@stuff.co.nz
Many thanks in advance in case you can help us :-)
Regards Angela

12:35 pm  

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