Tuesday, October 8, 2013
the last book I ever read (Frank Lloyd Wright: A Life by Ada Louise Huxtable, excerpt seven)
from Frank Lloyd Wright (Penguin Lives) by Ada Louise Huxtable:
Infidelity is classic midlife therapy, and Wright undoubtedly found solace and pleasure in the attention and affection of an attractive and cultivated woman. The affair had apparently started while he was working on the Cheney house, as his marriage was disintegrating. Mamah Cheney was a college graduate who had been a librarian before her marriage; she spoke French and German, and was an admirer of the Swedish feminist Ellen Key, whose books has circulated among the Chicago intelligentsia. Catherine had become totally immersed in her children and the difficulties of running that ambitious and impecunious establishment. The pretty girl Wright married just out of high school, who bore him so many children that the joke ran that he was unable to identify them when asked to do so quickly, had neither the time nor the desire to keep up with his rapidly broadening world. She had joined literary groups and social causes as part of their joint community role, but it seems that she did not share his interested at the same level of knowledge and intensity. In later years, she became a social worker; she never sought a profession in the arts. There were conflicts of priorities, and bitter disagreements. Inevitably, the two withdrew into their own hostile worlds. Wright and Mamah Cheney had done little to hide their affair. Both Catherine and Edwin Cheney knew, and it was common gossip even before their departure made it tabloid news.