AXEL:1st Love

One of the many men that would be attracted to-and attract our rare bird Ott-was Dr. Axel Munthe.

as the DocTor would have looked around the time of his Affair of the Heart with Ottoline

Axel Munthe, was a fashionable Swedish doctor, who travelled to Capri in the late 1890's to create his own heaven on earth. He acquired the ruin of San Michele chapel near the mountain village of Anacapri-renovating  the buildings on the property and acquiring antiquities to fill the terraces and the buildings of the property with.

a red granite sphinx attests to the strength of  Munthe's will to restore the Villa.

 the Sphinx Perched along the villa's edge

After meeting Munthe in England, he invited Ottoline to Capri. Ottoline and  her stalwart companion Hilda Pennant arrived at Munthe's villa after an arduous journey through Italy.  Shock waves went through the already possessive hilda when she realized Ottoline's deception in luring her along as  chaperone to be  for the pair of lovebirds.  Ottoline's description of the doctor had led Hilda to believe the doctor was a decrepit old man and indeed he was not!

rather- he was  A fascinating satyr in appearance with an alert figure.

 the Satyr later in Life

The Doctor was about 40 at the time the pair met

Munthe's Villa San Michele

Ottoline describes Munthe and how their love affair began:

then i knew he loved me. i had been filled with the spiritual and transcendental desire to pour love into this man, had poured out everything in mu heart to him... mingles as much as one heart full of love can be poured into another, the physical side of my love was barely awakened enough to give the abandonment of the heart with complete and passionate warmth... I was sure he loved me, but lurking  underneath was  the instinct that he would not undergo the ordeal of facing my family to win me. 

 The pair was able to elude steadfast Hilda and left her in Naples on a jaunt and returned to San Michele for a few days alone.

Ottoline-did not reveal whether her virginity had been breached during her days alone with Munthe.
Obviously in LOVE-how much so- and how far the affair went-- our Lady Ottoline does not reveal in her memoirs. Her implication is that she was so very religious at the time-she resisted, All. Ottoline's biographer Miranda Seymour writes no hard evidence can be offered, but it seems clear that Ottoline slept with Munthe.
Ottoline's flowery prose in her memoirs would indicate it was so-however that's just why I am skeptical-more on  Munthe attempts to woe a Lady in part ii of AXEL.


  1. Fabulous post! The doctor looks very attractive in the first sketch. I would have been taken by him as well!

    How could you not have an affair in a setting like this! Magical.

    Looking forward to the next post.

  2. Grouchy- thanks! Munthe is an interesting chapter in Ottoline's full life I think. Yes, I think that sphinx might have sent me right over the edge. pgt

  3. Ian.H.FraylingJanuary 09, 2012

    Axel Munthe was a great man, dedicating his whole life to helping people Mainly less fortunate some and more fortunate. My Wife Maureen and I have read The Story of San Michele and have visited there many times, while I was working near Naples living in nearby Vico Equense and on holiday yearly.
    Campania is our holiday area each year and
    friends on Capri and San Michele always have
    to be payed a visit.