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Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography

Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography
Author: Meryle Secrest
ISBN 13: 9780226744148
ISBN 10: 226744140
Edition: Univ of Chicago
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press
Publication Date: 1998-05-08
Format: Paperback
Pages: 652
List Price: $23.00

Meryle Secrest's Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography focuses on Wright's family history, personal adventures, and colorful friends and family. Secrest had unprecedented access to an archive of over one hundred thousand of Wright's letters, photographs, drawings, and books. She also interviewed surviving devotees, students, and relatives. The result is an explicit portrait of both the genius architect and the provocative con-man.

"Secrest seizes the themes most evocative of certain of our cultural myths, forging them into a coherent and emotionally plausible narrative."—New Republic

"An engaging narrative."—New York Times Book Review

"The real triumph of this biography . . . is the link it makes between Frank Lloyd Wright's personal life and his architecture."—The Economist

"Secrest's achievement is to etch Wright's character in sharp relief. . . . [She] presents Wright in his every guise."-Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune

"An extremely engaging profile."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A spellbinding portrait."—Library Journal

"The best [biography] so far, a huge and definitive accumulation of fact."—Time

Publishers Weekly

In this superb, subtle, demythologizing biography of Wright (1869-1959), we meet a shrewd yet gullible architect who fostered a view of himself as a misunderstood, embattled genius, a narcissist who unconsciously courted catastrophe while blaming the vengeful hand of fate as he overcame accidents, bankruptcy, lawsuits and hounding by his morphine-addicted second wife. Drawing on a trove of letters, Secrest ( Salvador Dali ) traces Wright's ``secret conviction of worthlessness'' to the contradictory influences of his freethinking, erratic Welsh mother and his jealous, spendthrift father, a New England minister. She discusses the dynamics of the architect's three marriages, recounts his clashes with Louis Sullivan and Lewis Mumford, and digs beneath his ``quasi-mystical Celtic beliefs'' to pinpoint the multiple influences on his fervent quest for an organic architecture. A definitive portrait of a mercurial titan. Photos. BOMC and QPB alternates. (Sept.)