This second volume in 1935, of four, of Intimate Memories details events in Mabel Dodge Luhan's married life and then her experiences in France and Italy, and her many colorful and sometimes sad acquaintances until she finally, seemingly tired of Europe, returns to the United States remarking in the last page, however, that "...it is ugly in America." In this book, in what applies to all four volumes in her memoirs, she arrests the reader with a frankness completely unique to Luhan. Revealing many personal accounts, in her foreword she says, "What a delicacy one needs to tell a story and at the same time not to tell it." And then she says, "I hope I may be forgiven when I fail." Surely she did not. As salon hostess, writer, and muse, she published her four volumes and 1,600 pages of "intimate memories" all during the 1930s. In vivid and compelling prose, she explored the momentous changes in sexuality, politics, art, and culture that moved Americans from the Victorian into the modern age. Noted for assembling and inspiring some of the leading creative men and women of her day-Gertrude Stein, John Reed, and D. H. Lawrence, among them-she was a "mover and shaker" of national and international renown during her lifetime. * * * *
Born in 1879 to a wealthy Buffalo family, Mabel Dodge Luhan earned fame for her friendships with American and European artists, writers and intellectuals and for her influential salons held in her Italian villa and Greenwich Village apartments. In 1917, weary of society and wary of a world steeped in war, she set down roots in remote Taos, New Mexico, then publicized the tiny town's inspirational beauty to the world, drawing a steady stream of significant guests to her adobe estate, including artist Georgia O'Keeffe, poet Robinson Jeffers, and authors D.H. Lawrence and Willa Cather. Luhan could be difficult, complex and often cruel, yet she was also generous and supportive, establishing a solid reputation as a patron of the arts and as an author of widely read autobiographies. She died in Taos in 1962.