Monday, October 7, 2013

the last book I ever read (Frank Lloyd Wright: A Life by Ada Louise Huxtable, excerpt six)

from Frank Lloyd Wright (Penguin Lives) by Ada Louise Huxtable:

The collegial arrangement of marital and professional togetherness that he had conceived as a utopian way of life had become a pressure cooker of domestic and professional responsibilities. A staff had to be fed and paid. With strong wills and minds of their own, the children were constantly underfoot. Catherine started a kindergarten on Froebel’s principles, adding more children to the chaos. Creditors came in person and by post. Patience and tempers wore thin, with frequent quarrels and a growing estrangement between husband and wife. The children—Lloyd, in particular—took their mother’s side, much as the young Frank had done at the time of his parents’ divorce. Wright became acutely aware of his lack of paternal instincts; he knew he was not a good family man. He never fancied himself in the role of father; he confessed in his memoirs that he hated the sound of “pa-pa.” They were all so young, he said later; he felt as if they were children together. He was more like a delightful and playful uncle, when he had the time. After extensive mea culpas of this sort, he managed to come out on top of his guilt or regret. Work was his life, his buildings were his children, he confessed in the Autobiography, although it was less confession than something he simply accepted as fact. “The architect absorbed the father,” he concluded, which, in his mind, seemed justification enough.

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