05 September 2015

Hervieu: a fiction?

I just finished reading Fanny: a fiction by Edmund White (2004) which is a tale of Frances Wright and Frances Trollope. Both were English writers and lived in the first half of the 19th century. Neither called herself Fanny but White refers to them as Fanny throughout his fictional telling. They did interact in real life but, like any good historical novelist, White winds a good deal of fiction around what we know of their reality. (My mother was a Frances too and she didn't call herself Fanny either.)

One of the fictional bits, not surprising for Edmund White, is a romance between Henry Trollope (son of Fanny) and Auguste Hervieu, an French painter who was a confidante of Fanny Trollope in England and went with her to America when she visited, as a prospective resident, the utopian community Nashoba that was started by Fanny Wright. White also describes Mrs Trollope as amusingly unaware of the nature of Henry and Auguste's friendship. The Frances Trollope page on Wikipedia is illustrated by a portrait by Auguste Hervieu but he doesn't have an entry on Wikipedia.

When I googled "auguste hervieu," one of the hits was a drawing of two nudes signed "HERVIEU." Another couple clicks and I had arrived at "A couple of lesbians" by Louise Hervieu.

The drawing was for sale on antiques.com, available from "Erotic-Secret" at the Marché Malassis in Paris. The portrait of Louise Hervieu is from her French Wikipedia page.

Hmmmm. Perhaps just another little twist from our friend Edmund White.