A collection of autograph letters, postcards, and handwritten notes from Olivia de Haulleville to Piero Heliczer, c. 1959-1960.
A collection of autograph letters, postcards, and handwritten notes from Olivia de Haulleville to Piero Heliczer, c. 1959-1960.
A collection of autograph letters, postcards, and handwritten notes from Olivia de Haulleville to Piero Heliczer, c. 1959-1960.
A collection of autograph letters, postcards, and handwritten notes from Olivia de Haulleville to Piero Heliczer, c. 1959-1960.
A collection of autograph letters, postcards, and handwritten notes from Olivia de Haulleville to Piero Heliczer, c. 1959-1960.
A collection of autograph letters, postcards, and handwritten notes from Olivia de Haulleville to Piero Heliczer, c. 1959-1960.
A collection of autograph letters, postcards, and handwritten notes from Olivia de Haulleville to Piero Heliczer, c. 1959-1960.
A collection of autograph letters, postcards, and handwritten notes from Olivia de Haulleville to Piero Heliczer, c. 1959-1960.

40.

A collection of autograph letters, postcards, and handwritten notes from Olivia de Haulleville to Piero Heliczer, c. 1959-1960.

Sixteen letters, cards and notes, most of them in holograph ink, using a variety of papers and found scraps, along with Olivia's 2pp. typescript, titled "THE ADDITION leadbelly", possibly a poetic addendum to a play by Piero Heliczer.

The majority of the letters are written from Greece following Olivia's road trip through France, Germany, Austria and Yugoslavia with her travelling companions, Angus MacLise and Diane and Bill Barker. In a postcard sent from Titograd en route she describes "the perilous roads through montenegro… already much car trouble… cars are inhuman & i pine for pine cones in the hand." Later, she advises Piero against purchasing "french outhouse", suggesting instead "austrian castles… dubrovnik is dazzling." On the second night after her arrival in Athens, where she "fell immediately upon garret room" previously occupied by Gregory Corso, she writes a lengthy letter on Dead Language notepaper in which she describes finding Angus "most annoying & dislikeful. no reason except maybe guilty he should still be so civil to me. i find him inarticulate & obnoxious" (in a subsequent letter she mentions "angus lies sick in my bed… I get along better with him").

In another, she tells Piero that "i play my flute ever so much better. gregory gave me another one. so did angus give me a yugoslave one. isn't this silly little boys giving girls their flutes… gregory is on a big mis-trusting kick after having been so pleased to see me at first, there are many undercurrents", this last comment perhaps hinting at the underlying sexual politics. In a letter sent later Olivia briefly describes a degrading sexual act with Corso, "for another flute" (elsewhere Karen Moller relates a similar experience with Corso at the Beat Hotel), adding that "only in this way (alas) do i think myself capable of detaching any sentimental or sacred values towards sex which we all know is merely a necessity. it may be good to be forced into submission as i might never have taken these steps" (mentions working on a book, and "aldous' love appreciated. He also sends it [to me] from californika"). In one particularly tender and intimate letter, she writes: "i seem always to speak only to you through tears… but tears such as these i write to few others & i think of your small behind & naked legs & am fonder of your body than anything i know."

Much of the correspondence concerns the difficulties arising from geographical separation and dependence on the mail: "I disapprove of your champagned post card illegible illegitimate & ill chosen my purpose is to share all i can & love with you & if this fails then why write." And in a letter dated March 9, 1960: "I write because I wonder if you care I think we are of the same skin & our letters show how we grow faster & more togetherwise when apart this may not be unfortunate but when shall we meet again."

The same letter informs Piero that "i may get married in egypt is this strange it might be fun" (a note on Dead Language notepaper, delivered to Piero in Paris before her departure, asks: "why do you so often refuse to give me your hand"). Not long after, a typed letter reads: "i send this wedding invitation to you… this marriage is so inevitable like the stars playing an old record or the wind". A formal printed invitation to the wedding in Alexandria on April 28, 1960 is enclosed: "what do you think of the type job egypt very limited you know".

Additional content concerns the perennial need for money ("money honey quick"), mentions of current reading material ('White Goddess') and books searched for ('Finnegans Wake'), as well as the Purcell Festival and Dead Language publications. One note, sent from Sarajevo, is accompanied by a receipt from a Munich bookseller for four items left on consignment: "never go to germany its tooo ugly". Others make requests: "five at least of LEMURS complete with decent picture. poem post cards to send if not sell. P.S. Lion Keeper is damn good poem. did you know. i also want any copies of maria. have none".

Further references are made to Gregory Corso, who first arrived in Greece in mid-September 1959, and in passing to Michael Horovitz, Allen Ginsberg and Ionesco, as well as Olivia's mother and brother, whose address in Los Angeles she provides "if you want write him".

A fascinating cache of correspondence, conveying insights into the nature of the relationship between Olivia de Haulleville and Piero Heliczer, and offering a female perspective on their circle of friends and their unconventional lives. Piero visited Olivia in Greece with his friend Cyclops Lester, probably in Spring 1960, but since she makes no reference to it (encouraging him to visit instead), this correspondence presumably pre-dates it.

After her marriage in April 1960, Olivia settled on the island of Hydra with her husband, George Cassapidis, with whom she had two children. Famously, her maternal uncle, Aldous Huxley, wrote 'The Crows of Pearblossom' for her as a Christmas gift in 1944, his only work for children (as a child, Olivia spent long periods of time with Huxley and his wife Maria in their desert house in the Mojave Desert, not far from where she now lives). In 1967, while living in Holland, she contributed a short-lived column to International Times in London, in which she appealed to readers to submit accounts of their dreams (in one of the letters in this collection she transcribes Diane Barker's dream of Piero).

One of the cards features a hand painted illustration on one side, and a typed statement from her on the other: "olivia melusine de haulleville balinese of belgian descent. otherwise little can be said for adolescense exceeding the limit of 21 years. because I believe in looking into the mirror before answering letters i find little time to write. however a few words necessary to explain my poetry first. it should be noted that i usually type black on white paper find no intricate punctuation design & only the rhymes meaning & words noticed in the poem are actually there. the poem begins at the beginning & ends at the end. & thus so do i."

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