The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

February 12, 2017

February 12, 1955


Maria Nys (10 September 10, 1899 to February 12, 1955) was a Belgian refugee. In England she was shelterd by Ottoline Morrell, at Garsington Manor, where Morrell maintained a salon of modernist artists and thinkers. We learn that:

Maria Nys was ... hardly more than a child
[when she arrived] but she [was] transformed in[to] an attractive woman. ...She ... fell in love with Aldous [Huxley]. They exchanged letters. From December 1916 to April 1919, they were separated. Even if both had new experiences and new friends, their love survived the separation.

They got married in 1919 and one year later they had a son named Matthew. It is said that their marriage was intensively close and happy... Maria Nys ...had a very important role in Huxley’s life. She took care of him, devoted herself to him. She read to him, drove him around Europe…

Maria, speaking of their home in the desert of northern Los Angeles County, is quoted by Sybille Bedford (Aldous Huxley, 1974). The year is 1945, and Maria is writing to a friend:

But only cats are little company. All the dogs have died. Many cats too, but we have two left . . .
[because of] snakes, thieves, coyotes, even owls; just the desert. It is hard on those soft little things. And I mind very much each time. We started out with eleven [cats] and added up to fifteen...and only two left...One is pale and streaky ginger with golden eyes.

Her husband wrote of The Perennial Philosophy,(1945) and The Doors of Perception (1954). He was nominated for a Nobel prize for literature several times.

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