Author reveals Gerard’s tale
AN author from West Hill has published the biography of German Jew turned quintessential English gent.
Margaret Martin has spent six months writing the story of Gerard Gould, 88, who now lives in Oxford and arrived in this country in 1939.
Entitled Making an Entrance, it was launched in Oxford on November 27 and is available at the Curious Otter book store in Ottery.
Gerard became head of English and drama at Lord Williams’ School, Oxford, where Margaret’s husband David was a pupil. She first met him at a school reunion they attended, and was so inspired by his story that she set the biographical wheels in motion.
“Gerard worked to become the perfect English gentleman, having cut off all his roots,” she said.
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He put drama on the map as a recognised school subject, and in 1966 staged the world premiere of Noel Coward’s Post Mortem.
“Coward wouldn’t let it be produced, until Gerard persuaded him,” said Margaret. “He did other incredible things, such as borrowing costumes from the Royal Shakespeare Company and getting people into RADA.”
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While it touches upon the Holocaust, the book is “not just another Holoucast story,” said Margaret. “It’s fun, Gerard has some very funny stories,” she said.
He sent a letter to David following his graduation from Oxford University. “David was moved, he said he was such an amazing teacher,” said Margaret.
The biography takes the form of a dramatic production. Margaret, an English graduate with a diploma in psychotherapy, carried out telephone interviews and she and David went to stay with Gerard to get the material.
“Gerard’s not a man who deals in half measures,” she said. “This book is the journey of him going back and explaining why he did what he did, letting everybody know this is who he is.”