From Greenwich Village to Taos: Primitivism and Place at Mabel Dodge Luhan's
Author: Flannery Burk
They all came to Taos: Georgia O'Keefe, D. H. Lawrence, Carl Van Vechten, and other expatriates of New York City. Fleeing urban ugliness, they moved west between 1917 and 1929 to join the community that art patron Mabel Dodge created in her Taos salon and to draw inspiration from New Mexico's mountain desert and "primitive" peoples. As they settled, their quest for the primitive forged a link between "authentic" places and those who called them home.
In this first book to consider Dodge and her visitors from a New Mexican perspective, Flannery Burke shows how these cultural mavens drew on modernist concepts of primitivism to construct their personal visions and cultural agendas. In each chapter she presents a place as it took shape for a different individual within Dodge's orbit. From this kaleidoscope of places emerges a vision of what place meant to modernist artistsas well as a narrative of what happened in the real place of New Mexico when visitors decided it was where they belonged. Expanding the picture of early American modernism beyond New York's dominance, she shows that these newcomers believed Taos was the place they had set out to findand that when Taos failed to meet their expectations, they changed Taos.
Throughout, Burke examines the ways notions of primitivism unfolded as Dodge's salon attracted artists of varying ethnicities and the ways that patronage was perceivedby African American writers seeking publication, Anglos seeking "authentic" material, Native American artists seeking patronage, or Nuevomexicanos simply seeking respect. She considers the notion of "competitive primitivism," especially regarding Carl Van Vechten, and offersnuanced analyses of divisions within northern New Mexico's arts communities over land issues and of the ways in which Pueblo Indians spoke on their own behalf.
Burke's book offers a portrait of a place as it took shape both aesthetically in the imaginations of Dodge's visitors and materially in the lives of everyday New Mexicans. It clearly shows that no people or places stand outside the modern worldand that when we pretend otherwise, those people and places inevitably suffer.
This book is part of the CultureAmerica series.
What People Are Saying
An impressive book. . . . Burke's most important contributions emerge from her study of the responses of Pueblos and Hispanos to the Anglo patronage that complexly supported, benefited, patronized, and undermined their communities, while exacerbating inter-ethnic tensions that were there long before their arrival. In addition, her fresh and exciting analysis of the divisions within the Santa Fe and Taos arts communities and the ways in which Pueblo Indians positioned themselves to speak on their own behalf is just terrific--very nuanced and very compelling. (Lois Rudnick, author of Mabel Dodge Luhan: New Woman, New Worlds)
An impressive book. . . . Burke's most important contributions emerge from her study of the responses of Pueblos and Hispanos to the Anglo patronage that complexly supported, benefited, patronized, and undermined their communities, while exacerbating inter-ethnic tensions that were there long before their arrival. In addition, her fresh and exciting analysis of the divisions within the Santa Fe and Taos arts communities and the ways in which Pueblo Indians positioned themselves to speak on their own behalf is just terrificvery nuanced and very compelling. (Lois Rudnick, author of Mabel Dodge Luhan: New Woman, New Worlds)
Table of Contents:Acknowledgments vii
Introduction: A World Apart 1
Mabel Dodge's Place 13
John Collier's Place 44
Nina Otero-Warren's Place 60
Carl Van Vechten's Place 89
Tony Lujan's Place 112
Mary Austin's Place 130
D. H. Lawrence's Place 153
Epilogue: Georgia O'Keeffe's Place 173
Selected Bibliography 227
New interesting textbook: Help Someone I Know Has a Problem with Porn or The Weight Loss Diaries
Jefferson Davis, American
Author: William J Cooper Jr
From a distinguished historian of the America South comes this thoroughly human portrait of the complex man at the center of our nation's most epic struggle.
Jefferson Davis initially did not wish to leave the Union-as the son of a veteran of the American Revolution and as a soldier and senator, he considered himself a patriot. William J. Cooper shows us how Davis' initial reluctance turned into absolute commitment to the Confederacy. He provides a thorough account of Davis' life, both as the Confederate President and in the years before and after the war. Elegantly written and impeccably researched, Jefferson Davis, American is the definitive examination of one of the most enigmatic figures in our nation's history.
Much has been written about Jefferson Davis, claims Cooper (The American South, etc.), professor of history at Louisiana State University, and most of it is negative. Instead of viewing Davis strictly through a modern lens, Cooper has set out to understand Davis as "a man of his time who had a significant impact on his time, and thus on history" and to "not condemn him for not being a man of my time." Davis was born in Kentucky in 1808 and attended Transylvania University in Lexington. In 1824, he left the South for West Point, graduated in 1828 with a commission as Brevet Second Lieutenant and went on to a noteworthy career as a hero of the Mexican War and an able statesman. Davis served as secretary of war under President Pierce and then as a U.S. senator from Mississippi. Indeed, Cooper notes, many thought Davis would be president one day. Always believing himself a firm supporter of the Constitution and a true patriot, Davis trusted in the sovereign rights of states ("he looked to Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John C. Calhoun as the great explicators of states' rights and strict construction, of the proper understanding of the nation and the Constitution"), which included the right to own slaves if a state so chose. Although Davis did not initially favor secession, he believed the Confederacy's goals to be consistent with the America he honored, and was proud to serve as the president of the Confederacy. Previous accounts of Davis's life have argued that he was basically an incompetent leader; some even have suggested that the failure of the Confederacy was, at the core, Davis's fault. But here Davis appears much like any other leader, possessing both strengths and weaknesses. In the already cluttered field of Civil War history, Cooper's is the definitive biography; readers will be particularly pleased to discover the compelling power of his narrative. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Cooper, whose earlier books showed how Southerners reconciled liberty and slavery, casts Jefferson Davis as the "true patriot," who left the Union with sadness but also the conviction that the South stood as heir to the Founding Fathers because the antislavery North had violated the sacred promise of letting slaveholders take their "property" where they would without interference. Cooper's Davis entrusted considerable authority to individual slaves but never doubted the racial superiority of whites, and he worked for national expansion but insisted on Southern "rights." Throughout, says Cooper, Davis never doubted his own ability or purpose, whether at West Point, in the Mexican War, as Secretary of War, or as president of the Confederacy. Cooper (The American South: A History) finds Davis a more flexible and intelligent war leader than have most historians, but he also stresses his unbending belief in the constitutional rightness of secession. Cooper's great achievement is that he never loses the man to the age. Along with William Davis's more critical biography, Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour (LJ 11/15/91), Cooper's sympathetic reading of Jefferson Davis's life and work gives the man his due. If every Southern historian needs to "get right" with Davis to find out what made the Confederacy, readers can hardly do better than getting hold of Cooper's book to understand why so many men were willing to die for Dixie.--Randall M. Miller, Saint Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
The central question of Cooper's (history, Louisiana State U.) biography is how the West Point graduate, former US Secretary of War, and US senator from Mississippi become devoted leader of the struggle to destroy the US. He finds Davis to have been a devoted American, but also a wealthy plantation owner who believed slavery to be a moral and social good that could coexist with free labor in an undivided Union. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
New York Times Book Review - Max Byrd
Thanks to Cooper's rather awesome thoroughness of research and steady focus on his subject, and despite a faint gray haze of scholarly soberness, his book seems likely to be the standard life from now on.
Starting with his title, Cooper (History/Louisiana State Univ.) aims to replace the conventional image of the Confederate president as foe of the Union with a new representation as a reluctant secessionist. Yet, despite his sympathy and impressive research, the thesis just won't fly. As a US Army lieutenant, congressman, Mexican War hero, US senator, and secretary of war, Davis spent much of his adult life in service to the nation from which he eventually rebelled. Later, as the indispensable man of the Lost Cause, no other leader matched his prewar political, military, and administrative experience. Using Davis's voluminous papers, Cooper adeptly traces his close relationship with older brother Joseph, a wealthy Mississippi plantation owner, and second wife Varina. Davis, he notes, became president of the short-lived republic because of his prewar reputation as a Southern moderate rather than a"fire eater" (although he proclaimed belief in a Union whose guaranteed liberties included the right to own slaves). But, for all the diligence and considerate treatment of this complex man, Cooper has missed something essential by viewing events so extensively through the eyes of his hero. Rightly stating that Davis's belief in the inferiority of blacks was universally shared in his time, Cooper begs the question of what the fuss over slavery was all about in the first place. The trouble is not that Davis's views on slavery look so objectionable now, but that they appeared so to many people in his own life, too. In addition, while shedding great light on Davis's multiple medical ailments (including malaria and facial neuralgia), he seldom connects them to thestressesthey placed on his subject and his prickly relations with cabinet members, generals, Southern governors, and others. One ailmentclouded vision resulting from eye infectionsis an irresistible metaphor for a politician addicted to micromanaging the war effort and to championing slavery as a moral good. A strongly presented attempt to enter into the mind and heart of Davis, upended by a failure of critical perspective. (25 b&w photos and 13 maps)