Thursday, September 29, 2016

Loving Frank - Nancy Horan

Frank Lloyd Wright is an icon here in Arizona and I was interested in reading some historical fiction about his life.  This is the story of his love affair with one of his clients, Mamah Borthwick Cheney (that's a real name).  She was a feminist in the early 20th century and they admired each other's intellect which sent sparks flying.  It's quite a story.

The tale had an added bonus for me because it describes the life of women (albeit the upper class) during the 1900-1920 time period and I'm researching that era for a story about my great grandmother.  The women advocating for women's rights are referenced throughout: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Jane Addams, Emma Goldman, Grace Trout, Else Lasker-Schuler, as well as detractors like the Reverend Billy Sunday.

Mamah was a translator for Ellen Key (author of Beauty for Everyone and The Morality of Woman). Elsie explains the name-calling she's received, saying "It's a very effective method: Attack the personal character of the thinker, and you will kill her ideas.  I have been forced to live a careful life as a result".

I learned the source of the name of FLW's Taliesin - it was the name of the main character in a play by Richard Hovey about a Welsh bard who was part of King Arthur's court, a truth-seeker and a prophet, who's name meant 'shining brow'.

I noted this quote while reading:

"It is not sufficient to be a mother; an oyster can be a mother.  Charlotte Perkins Gilman."

A great read with lots to offer.

Published:  2007   Read: September 2016  Genre: Historical fiction

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