"Plagued by Fire" review

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Tom
Posts: 3145
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

The book seems very seriously researched on the one hand
yet casual and conversational in tone on the other.
I like the way PH is putting Wright's life in chronological order.
This is probably old news to guys like RG.
Yet, for example, locating the young Wright of the family portrait on his Oak Park steps as still working in the Auditorium Tower for A&S is appreciated.
I also apprecited PH's interpretative description of Wright, his wife Katherine and his Mother in that shot as revealing the relational triangle and perhaps the break to come.
There is something compelling in that kind of literary license and liberty.
On the other hand, the remarks on Wright's *, at this point (113 pages in) strike me as too casual and overly sugestive.
*= s e x u a l i t y

Tom
Posts: 3145
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

200 pages in.
I'm glad I bought this book.
PH interprets another Oak Park family portrait - the one with Wright in white smock
and sitting up on the terrace wall and locates it precisely, yet a little speculatively, in time.
It's a good technique.
I had not realized how long he and Mamah were involved before they took off.
...and the launch of their trip to Europe coincides with the public dedication of Unity Temple.
.... The research into Julian Carlton's background is very good too.

PH is also taking the architecture very seriously. It means something to him.
This is not a Fellowship gab fest type of thing.

The "bad reviews" of this book linked to in the past few months I don't get at this point.
Last edited by Tom on Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tom
Posts: 3145
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

at page 292
This book is turning into the book I had hoped 'Death in a Prairie House" would have been.
The all too brief excerpts of letters between Wright and Richard Lloyd Jones ARE pretty funny.
Last edited by Tom on Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tom
Posts: 3145
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

heading into 1936 and the Jacobs house now.

DavidC
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Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:22 pm
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Post by DavidC »


Matt2
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Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:07 pm

Post by Matt2 »

Finished the book a week ago. Really enjoyed it. I found the mid-section a big of a tangent into the details of side characters, but the author brings things back home to discuss the Jacobs house. I even enjoyed his ending essay on his sources and methods of research.

DRN
Posts: 3942
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

From the Harper's review:
When his parents split in 1885�he claimed that his father had deserted the family when in fact his mother kicked him out�Wright adopted a new middle name, the first of many Welsh affectations.
Oy, we established, I think, in our Frank LINCOLN Wright thread that Wright went by Lloyd on a census form in 1880:
From that thread:
I’m reading Ron McCrea’s excellent “Building Taliesin�. On page 57, In the list of notes:
Quote:
“3. The 1880 census lists among the residents at James Lloyd Jones farm “Hired hands: John William Kritz, Frank Loyd Wright.�
Another from the Harper's review:
He invented radiant heating�which he also called gravity heat and, not a little disturbingly, “holocaust heating��by burying pipes in concrete slabs, an idea, he said, that came from the submerged sources of heat in Japanese homes.
That's HYPOCAUST heating!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocaust

One wonders if Hendrickson got that wrong... Wright uses the term "hypocaust" in his An Autobiography:
https://books.google.com/books?id=S8zlZ ... st&f=false
and in The Natural House , I believe.
Watch that little error in a magazine (hopefully not Hendrickson's book, as well) get latched upon and spread to the four corners of the internet, becoming the grist for some as yet unknown mill.
Last edited by DRN on Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:41 pm, edited 5 times in total.

DRN
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Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

And another....
I read this review by Witold Rybczynski in the print edition of Architect magazine.

https://www.architectmagazine.com/desig ... d-wright_o

The following passage in the review stood out given some of our "Brendan Gill vs. Truth" discussions:
He is hardly the first to attempt this task. Brendan Gill’s Many Masks: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright (Putnam, 1987) is sometimes gossipy but informed by the author’s sound eye and the fact that he knew Wright and was close to him;...

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10118
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

"... that he knew Wright and was close to him...."
After "Many Masks" was released (once the litigious Olga was safely dead) I asked everyone I could who knew FLW in those days, if they knew anything about Brendan Gill. Not one of them, Cornelia Brierly, John DeKoven Hill, Bruce Pfeiffer, Tom Casey, John Geiger ... not one of them ever heard of Gill before the book.

SDR
Posts: 19284
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Thus it seems unlikely that Gill knew Wright, and vice versa ?

The name was familiar to me before learning of his Wright book---but I may have been thinking of Eric
Gill, an artist and designer whose work has a legitimate place in the canon of Twentieth-century craft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Gill

Brendan Gill has the dubious honor of having published what might be the least flattering photo of Mr
Wright ever to have been taken.

Image

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

Gill was certainly not unknown before Many Masks, the last of 15 books over 30 years.
His style is very readable, probably not unlike Barbara Cartland. His attention to detail and facts was wanting, however.

Wright should have stopped that photo from getting printed!

SDR
Posts: 19284
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Yes---but he never saw it in Gill's book, which was published 28 years after he died.

One wonders where Gill found the photograph (and, when and where it was taken); it is credited only to a Phil Feddersen, whoever that might have been . . .

Is that one of the Japanese buildings, perhance ?

S

John
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:25 am

Plagued By Fire

Post by John »

I'm disturbed that the cover photo is a stock one which we have seen many times before. It has nothing to do with the title. How about a photo one of the many Taliesin fires?

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

How about this for an unfortunate cover photo:

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Fr ... frontcover

Must be one of the last photos ? Identified by the publisher only as "Wisconsin Historical Society, WHi 33104"

S

Mark Hertzberg
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:51 am
Contact:

Post by Mark Hertzberg »

The British edition has a different cover photograph.
Mark Hertzberg

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