The Anna Kavan Papers

Series 2: Correspondence: Bluth - Davies


Please note: each piece of correspondence in the main series below was numbered by Bertram Rota, Ltd., possibly in the order in which they found it, before the material was sent to Tulsa. This assigned number is recorded as the last element of an entry. Since some letters have been more recently dated (or approximately dated), the order here--as nearly chronological as possible--no longer strictly follows the numerical order.  All notes and letters are one sheet only unless otherwise noted.
Karl Theodore Bluth
1:1 Handwritten poems and sketches, 67 pieces.    
  Typed poems presumably composed by Bluth, 7p.    
  Bluth to Kavan. In reference to Kavan's debt to him forprofessional services rendered.  Typed and signed letter, 11 Jun 1949.    
  Mrs. Theophila Bluth to Mrs. Hugh (Helen) Tevis. In reference to Kavan's debt for services rendered.  Typed and signed letter, 9 Aug 1949.    
  Bluth to Kavan.  In reference to Kavan's bacterial infection.  Typed and signed letter, 13 Oct 1953.    
  Bluth to Kavan.  Found tipped into a copy of A Scarcity of Love.  Typed and signed letter, 7 Sept 1956.    
  Mrs. Theophila Bluth to Kavan.  Not sent.  Handwritten and signed postcard, circa 1958.    
1:2-3 Handwritten and typed poems and sketches, 189 pieces.    
  (See also Series 1: Writings: "The event was to be expected...." , ["Karl Theodor Bluth Obituary"]; Cyril Connolly papers:  Arthur Koestler to Connolly in re Kavan and Bluth)    
George Bullock
Please note:  All letters are handwritten and signed from Anna Kavan to George Bullock unless otherwise noted.
1:4 [circa irca 1945].  "How nice of you to write to me.  I was ill in someone else's house when your letter reached me in a circumstance which made it specially welcome...."  45    
  [circa irca 1945].  "I was terribly sorry to hear of all your new troubles--but I don't want to sound like an echo of [Edelia] Sitwell, so that's all I'll say. Here is my new book with love and very good wishes...."  Handwritten and signed note, 74    
  [Jun 1945].  "This is just a note to thank you for the delicious cake--all those eggs [are] lovely, but oughtn't you to be eating them yourself? Or else preserving them for the winter when (according to the Express) we're only going to get one a week...."   43    
  [circa irca 1946].  "What a lovely present. How could you possibly think for a moment I might consider it "silly"? But of course you must have known really that I'd be delighted. Why does one, both as an unhappy child and an older person, feel so moved by such a box of surprises?...."   71    
  [circa irca 1946]. "Thanks for your letter which made me wish I'd decided to go through with the journey to Switzerland after all. I think I would have risked it if you'd [been] here to encourage me...."  70    
  [Jan 1947]. "I'm so very glad you are all fixed up to go to Switzerland soon--I'm sure you will enjoy it and feel quite different after you've been there awhile. Dr. Bluth is very keen for me to go to Davos, too...."   35    
  [circa 1947].  "It was nice of you to answer my letter so promptly. As you say, one ought to be able to raise 60 [pounds]--perhaps my publishers would advance it. If I can get the money, and if we could travel together, I would seriously decide to go for a month...."  54    
  [circa 1947].  "I went to see the Cook's man this afternoon at Friberg's suggestion. He says we can count on getting 22nd class sleepers round about the 5th February (Wednesday next). It may be a day or two earlier or later...."  53.    
  [circa 1947].  "I took my passport to Mr. Whitby this afternoon at Cook's for him to get the visa. At the same time I asked if there was any news about the sleepers--he expects to hear during the next 2 or 3 days...."   69.    
  [circa 1947].  "How nice of you to remember about Atkinson--I still think it's about the best, although none of them keep their scent now, do they? The soap problem is really serious for one person living alone who also wants to keep things clean as well as self...."   33    
From Kreuzlingen
1:5 [17 Mar 1947].  I just want to say that I'm so glad we had this rather unusual chance of knowing each other.  You say that I've helped you to see things in a better perspective. If that's true, I am very pleased; for you have helped me in various ways--you have helped me, oddly enough, to make the decision about going to Busweigner...."   2    
  [19 Mar 1947].  "How are you? When I say I hope and feel sure you're all right, I don't mean that I wouldn't like you to miss me--anyhow, just a little. In a peculiar way, it already seems ages since I left Davos...."  31    
  [22 Mar 1947].  "Thank you so much for your letter and for sending on the things I left behind. I realized I had left them, but I can't imagine where, as I looked in every drawer most carefully...."  Typed and signed letter.  37    
  [Mar 1947].  "George, it was nice to hear your phone voice--you can't imagine how pleased I was. It was just the right moment, too, as I'd been feeling completely sunk ever since that thunderstorm ended a pleasant afternoon in the sun...."  62    
  [Mar 1947].  "George dear, I'm sorry to have caused you so much alarm and despondency over my pants--they are perfectly O. K. and the slip is exceptionally nice. I knew you had very good taste or I shouldn't have asked you to do the commission without detailed instructions...."  42    
  [Mar 1947].  "It was so nice to speak to you just now on the phone. Just for a minute or two the horrible depression which hangs over me all the time seemed to move. But now it's back again--a great oppressive amorphous mass...."  5    
  [Mar/Apr 1947].  "Of course I can't help being glad egotistically that you are freer to go places with me: but honestly, George, I'm awfully sorry both for your sake and Harry's that he isn't coming...."  40    
  [5 Apr 1947].  "I am sorry to get such a sad report of you. It was awfully nice that you thought of getting someone to phone me. As a matter of fact, I had been slightly anxious about you--more as a result of intuition, I think, than anything you had written...."  Handwritten letter.  51    
  [7 Apr 1947].  "It was good to talk to you, even for so few minutes. You've no idea how miserable and lonely I've been the last few days--an all time low, I should think. Presumably it seemed less bad at first because I felt so ill physically. Now I've more or less got over the withdrawal symptoms and there's nothing whatever to mitigate this awful depression...."  61    
  [10 Apr 1947].  "Thank you for the delicious strawberries--they really are heavenly. Sweet of you to send them and the charming flowers. It certainly took away some of that desolate feeling one never seems to grow out of when having a birthday alone...."  50    
  [Apr 1947].  "Just heard that the Bellevue an lac (where I meant to get a room) has no vacancy till May--so that finished my Lugano project for the 14th...."  1    
  [14 Apr 1947].  "I didn't answer your letter at once because I wanted to think it over carefully and make sure I didn't misunderstand it--as you rightly said I might do. Your desire to be shielded and wrapped in cotton wool seems very natural in the circumstances...."  Typed and signed letter.  52    
  [17 Apr 1947].  "I'm so glad to hear you are well enough to get out on the balcony again--that's something, anyway. If the weather has been like it has here you must have hated being indoors...."  60    
  [19 Apr 1947].  "Dr. Bluth will phone Bauer this evening.  We tried to get through at lunchtime but something seemed to be wrong with the line. I am sorry you're still feeling so miserable...."  46    
  [23 Apr 1947].   "I expect Bauer told you he had a talk with Dr. Bluth about you on the phone. Bluth suggested giving you some vitamins, etc, but Bauer didn't think it necessary as he said you were making a good recovery and there was nothing to worry about...."   27    
  [circa 1947].  "I write poetry, he said. I'm writing quite a short poem, but everyone in the whole world comes into it. It's more than a poem really, it's life...."   Handwritten fragment.  48    
From Oberhofen
1:6 [circa 1947].  "Your nice sympathetic letter did me a lot of good. You are one of the few people who are capable of feeling themselve's into someone else's misfortune's because you've been through so much yourself...."  78    
  [circa 1947].  "An idea has just occured to me, George. You may not think it a good one, but here it is: On the strength of this illness I've just had, I could probably get my people to send me a little more money so that I could convalesce in Switzerland instead of going straight back to London...."  66    
  [circa 1947].  "Of course I do understand. I think your letter very honest and good. I never inteded you to have any expenses beyond possibly your fare; and I wish I could say, come by all means...."  44    
  [circa 1947].  "I hope you can read this. I still can't write properly because of all the dope they gave me yesterday when they opened up another of these goddamn things...."   67    
  [circa 1947].   "My family (God bless them) have sent a few pounds extra so I think it will be O.K. for you to come if you still want to and if you think it worth while making the tiresome journey for a short visit--about 2 weeks, the money will last us both, I should think...."  34    
  [circa 1947].  "I've just read your letter and write at once to say how sorry I am that there's so little hope of you coming out here. Somehow I couldn't help thinking that a miracle of some sort might occur...."  49    
  [15 Jun 1947].  "I do appreciate very much that you should take the trouble to write a letter of protest about that review. I suppose the impulse to defend integrity isn't uncommon; but hardly anyone has the energy to take any active step...."  76    
  [Jun/Jul 1947].  "If I find a bit later on that there's more money than I thought and if I really have recovered and don't have to pay anymore doctors, may I cable you? I mean would you think it worth while coming for just 2 weeks...."  73    
  [25 Nov 1947].  "I liked getting your letter very much but I'm sorry you had such a struggle to write it. Can't you just regard me (as I think you did when we were at Davos) as another human being [---] want to talk to?...."  75
From South Africa
  [22 Jan 1948].  "Thank you for your letter and good wishes. Ordinary (non-air) mail takes such ages to get here that I've already heard how successful your Xmas party was...."  30.    
From Kreuzlingen
  [4 May 1948].  "I've owed you a letter for ages I know.  Now, having a forced-inactivity period, I can catch up with my correspondence perhaps. I left London raher in a rush, and forgot to tell Raymond to tell you that you are very welcome to use my flat at the White House if you want...."  59    
  [10 May 1948]. " I'm so glad the flat will come in useful. Yes, it is unusual that the irght thing happens at the right time, I know. Here is a note for the proter...."  36    
  [11 May 1948].  "Thank you for such a nice letter, I never said thank you when I wrote last I'm afraid. I hope this view will arouse some pleasant memories. It's very agreeable here now, hot and rather gay...."  Handwritten and signed postcard.  68    
From Paddington
  [25 Dec 1948].  "I did enjoy opening your parcel, George, and all the exciting things inside--lovely soap and bath cubes. It is sweet of you really. I wish I had something nice to send you...."  55    
  [1948/1949].  "I've been thinking about you quite often lately. It's only that awful inertia of depression that prevents me from writing to you--or doing anything else, for that matter. Thank you so much for both your letters....On Friday I go into the nursing home at 11 Fellows Road...."  57    
  [1948/1949].  "Thank you for writing and telegramming to me. I can't write or even speak to anyone because I feel too depressed. I also stood in Satan's bosom and beheld its desolation...."  64.    
  [1948/1949].  "Your letter came today. Thank you. I hope you'll be able to read this. If you changed your mind about coming to town you could have my flat and of course I'd love to see you. they only knock me out for periods of the day...."  63    
  [1948/1949].  "Believe it or not this is the first attempt I've [made] either to read or write since they put me completely "under." For the last few days I've just been existing inertly like a limpet on a rock...."  32    
  [1948/1949].  "Before I see you, or in case I don't see you while you're in town, I want to say how sorry I am that you felt so miserable and desperate the other day. Being in continuous pain must have been hell...."  72    
  [1948/1949].  "'m so glad you came this morning. I didn't want you to go away before I'd said something more. But perhaps it's better not to be too articulate...."  Typed and signed letter.  79    
  [9 Jul 1949].  "What on earth has come over you these last few days? Have you and Raymond lost all sense of proportion? As we've known one another such a long time, it's grotesque to envisage me suddenly as some sort of satanic female plotting your ruin...."  Typed and signed letter.  39    
  [13 Jul 1949].  "I have a feeling you only half believed me when I said I'd not received the book or your letter. If you think about this objectively, you'll see that I have no possible reason for not telling the truth....Typed and signed letter.    
  [15 Jul 1949].  "As I feel you disbelieved me about not receiving the book and your letter, I thought I'd tell you that the mystery is now solved...."  Typed and signed letter.  4    
1:7 [17 Sept 1953].  "I think Rhys said you were in London, but as I don't know your address I must send this to [Pontucawl] in the hope of its being forwarded. As you know, I never wanted to grovel either with you or Raymond...."  Handwritten and signed card.  12    
  [25 Aug 1955].  "If you really want to sell any of your blankets or other things, couldn't your mother bring them? As I'll have to buy some before I move back to Campden St...."    
  [2 Oct 1955].  "I'm sorry I couldn't get you on the phone yesterday to say goodbye. It happened to be a day I was out to lunch, and when I got back and tried your number at about 3 there was no reply...."   6    
  [4 Oct 1955].  "This note writing must be infectious. I don't know why I can't say this, except that I'm never very good at direct contact...."  Typed and signed letter.    
  [10 Nov 1955].  "I haven't got anything to say except that I'm very sorry you are ill and you must not be ill-- because I simply can't go on without you...."  Handwritten and signed card.    
  [30 Aug 1956].  "During the night I've considered--as it seems to me--all possible reactions to what I wrote yesterday: of which the most probable seems to be "Why should she expect sanctuaries and protection from the wolves?--a good thing she has lost it"...."   11    
  [20 Nov 1956].  "I'm awfully glad you feel on the whole better. I'm sure your morale must have been strengthened by your stay in hospital...."  Typed and signed letter.   9    
  [circa 1956].  "To say I hope you're better seems absurd, so I can only hope you're at least not any worse. Had you come over today you wouldn't have been able to work, as in addition to Alan and his 3 men and another independent electrician, Salmon had sent that Negro from Watts...."  18    
  [circa 1956].  'Thank you for your letter and the card. I'm awfully sorry I didn't write yesterday. I feel quiteovercome by my own minor troubles and unable to say anything encouraging or amusing...."   Typed and signed letter.  29    
  [1956/1957]. "It's 3 a.m. and I'm lying here oppressed by the thought of you (possibly) lying there, thinking how "unreliable," mean, and altogether hateful I am...."   3    
  [5 Oct 1957].  "Don't imagine, please, that I'm annoyed about your not coming any more. If I appeared surprised or taken aback, it was only because, when I asked you the week before, you said there was no question of your leaving me while I still wanted you...."   15    
  [30 Oct 1957].  "Thank you for your note. I'm very sorry indeed to hear that you've been so ill. I quite understand that you don't feel up to dealing with other people's worries and am sorry I bothered you by telephoning...."   22    
  [1957/1958].  "The last thing I want to do is to thrust myself on your notice 8   if you don't want to be reminded of me. However, we did see a good deal of each other last summer...."  13.    
  [10 Aug 1958].  "I've been meaning to write for ages to apologize for my inopportune letter. It must have been most annoying to be congratulated on your recovery while you were feeling so ill...."  20    
  [circa 1950s].  "I'm sorry if I said something to hurt or offend you this afternoon. I wanted to ask you if you would help me out for a while until you get some other work. But then you seemed so antagonized suddenly...."  10    
  [circa 1950s].  "I hope you've got over your lack of confidence  a bit by now. I suppose it was inevitable that you should feel that way. The right sort of person would be able to make you snap out of it...."  24    
  [circa 1950s].  "As I told you, Raymond came here Sunday evening, and while we were waiting for the Bluths, said your stage job had fallen through...."  16    
  [circa 1950s].  "Thank you so much for the poems, I do like them much better than I expected. I hope I didn't spoil the evening for you the other night--I've felt like this ever since...." 14    
  [circa 1950s].  "You weren't expected to send me the change--but I feel to send it back would be making too much of 10/- altogether. I didn't notice you being especially egotistic...."  28    
1:8 1: 1940-1946.    
1:9 2: 1949-1958, with typed and handwritten items tipped in.  3 pieces.    
1:10 3: 1951-1954, with typed and handwritten items and photo of Bullock tipped in.  5 pieces.  (Bullock photo located in Series 3: Photographs)    
2:1 Notepad, postage compartment, and fountain pen, in a leather case with the initials "G.C.B." stamped on front cover.    
Rhys Davies
Please note:  All letters are handwritten and signed from Anna Kavan to Rhys Davies unless otherwise noted.
2:2 Undated.   "Please excuse yesterday's hurried card. I thought you might like to know as soon as possible that you would not have to bother about me if you wished to make plans. I'm really disappointed that I can't come to Lugano...."    
  May 3.  "I hope this will reach you before you leave Lugano, or catch you up at Venice, [Raysallo], Paris or somewhere. What a grand tour...."    
  Undated.  "Apparently I'm the only person in London unaware of what's been going on. Last night I was told that everybody has been talking for weeks about how atrociously I behaved to you--that I was terribly rude to you and that you were frightfully angry with me...."    
  Undated.  "Here are some belated good wishes for Christmas--if it isn't two cynical to mention anything good. What news. A fresh catastrophe every time one looks at the paper...."    
  Feb 27.  "I've just come back from a weekend at Bledlow where I was reminded of you in various ways. Of course I've been meaning to write for ages, but when it comes to the point I get a feeling that letters are an obsolete method of communication...."     
  Mar 25.  "Thank you for your letter. I was disappointed that you didn't have enough time to see me when you were last in town. There is a copy of I Am Lazarus here for you, but I shall keep it until we meet...."    
  Undated.  "Thank you, thank you for the eggs--so charmingly adorned moreover with spring flowers. Really you are a kind person...."    
  Undated.  "I'm very glad I didn't disarrange your plans by cancelling the Portmeirion affair. How is it possible that things go wrong with me so consistently? Now, if ever, is the time when one ought to be in the country...."
  Undated.  "We get to Madeira this afternoon so I shall post this there. Not that there's anything to say, except that I'm enjoying your book which blows a dying breath of realism into the existence now opening vistas of unreality in front of me. I think the dark daughters are terrifying females...."    
  Feb 10, 1948.  "I suppose to obliterate the good impression made by my letter arriving quickly, yours seems to have taken nearly a fortnight to get here. Meanwhile I'm existing--if you can call it that--in a state of suspended animation, waiting to hear whether Raymond succeeds in finding me a flat or not...."    
  Feb 27, 1948.  "After all the decisions and revisions I'm not leaving today. As you know, the flat Raymond was negotiating for at the White House fell through...."    
  May 11, 1948.  "I do apologize for not writing sooner. Ever since I got to Switzerland I seem to have been moving about and in such a state of indecision that I couldn't give any address at which I could be written to. (What a horrible sentence.) Now I'm still on the move, leaving Zurich late this afternoon...."    
  [May 26], 1948.  "I couldn't answer your letter sooner because I've been laid low since the day after I got here with a form of acute septicaemia; high temperature, huge and loathsome abscesses (?) which had to be cut open under an anaesthetic and drained with innumerable tubes. I feel rather like Job...."    
  [Jun 25], 1948.  "Thank you for your letter. I noted what you said in it about the way my book was produced when I wrote to Cassells the other day asking them to release me from my contract. I hope you don't mind...."    
  June, 1948.  "Thank you for your letter. What romantic ideas you're getting, all mixed up with the respectable green cabbages of the Edgware Road--fanning people with white ostrich feathers indeed! Though I could certainly do with a fan of some sort (preferably electric) as it's suddenly turned fearfully hot here...."    
  Mar 3, 1949.  "How are you? Feeling much better after your week in the country, I hope. My God, this voyage! I feel it will never end. For the first four days the weather was appalling...."    
  Mar 10. "Thank you for your letter. Yesterday I sent you a parcel containing 2 1/2 lb. tin of ham, veal loaf, tongue, peaches, mixed fruit for cakes, etc. No peanut butter. I hope it will arrive fairly soon. I sent it under my mother's name (Tevis) because I thought it might go quicker that way...."    
  Undated.  "Thank you for the card. I'm so glad you enjoyed your holiday and I'm eager to hear a firsthand report of Riviera conditions. Do you think it would be possible to live there comfortably, or are things still too chaotic?...."    
  Apr 22.  "Your letter came some days ago and was very welcome. No sign of New Writing so far. Only papers I've received were a few from Raymond last week. Probably the censors have instructions to destroy automatically any periodical or book with prefix 'New'...."    
  May 3, 1949.  "The book and New Statesman finally turned up today with your letter. I'm very pleased to have them. Thank you so much. If there was an interval of silence, you were really responsible because I always answer your letters at once, or within a few days...."
  Undated.  "Thank you for your letter. I'm sorry you had trouble finding another Horizon -- please don't bother about it. If you can spare yours when you've read it that would be fine. It's just that I want to give a copy to Dr. Binswanger whom I hope to see soon...."    
  Mar 12.  "Many thanks for your letter and for the note which the P.O. failed to detect with their magic ray. Did you get my letter about the return ticket and the cheque for [---]? Now I get a wire from Raymond saying it's not allowed to buy the ticket in London: most extraordinary, as I'd just had a letter from Cooks telling me they were arranging it...."    
  Undated.  "I am sorry you had all that trouble and unpleasantness at Cooks--Raymond's description made it sound a Kafkaesque nightmare...."    
  Mar 22.  "Your letter was sent on from Davos--I left there on Monday. Thanks for writing; but why this outburst of ecclesiastical terminology--"[---]," "4th in Lent," etc? Means nothing to me...."    
  Undated.  "No sooner had I sent off the wire this afternoon than I began to think it was insufficiently addressed-- ought I to have put Kings Rd? But surely these big blocks of flats are well known to the P.O.?...."    
  Undated.  "Thank you so much for New Writingy and the New Statesman. It was kind of you to send them. I'm awfully glad you really mean to come to Lugano. As it happens, I'd written today before your letter arrived to reserve a room at the Hotel Bellevue an Lac (Harris recommends) for the 14th...."    
  Undated. "Just a note to welcome you to Lugano. I'm so glad the Bellevue was able to give you a room. When I wrote them about 10 days ago they said they had not a single vacancy until May...."    
  Undated.  "I'm so sorry I can't take the room for any definite date, because I'm more or less dependent on Bluth's plans which are somewhat vague. This is the first real holiday he's had for 11 years, he's been more than kind to me as you know, so I'm determined to do all I can to make his stay in Switzerland a success...."