D. H. Lawrence in New Mexico

Mabel Dodge Luhan and D. H. Lawrence had a very interesting relationship. Luhan lobbied for Lawrence to come to Toas because she was convinced that he was the only one who could write about “the deep mysteries of the landscape and Pueblo life.” I think her perspective shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how writers work. Many people can be inspired by the same landscape but they are inspired by it in different ways. Luhan felt connected to Lawrence through his work and transferred her feelings of the landscape and her feelings toward the people on to him, expecting him to see the same things in the world around them as she did. Despite the fact that he seemed to enjoy the landscape (unlike Nabokov), Lawrence resented Lohan’s intentions and pointed out that she was “using what she learned about Indian life to strengthen and market her own ego.” He saw her approach to the struggles of the Native Americans as a kind of hubris toward people she saw as “less fortunate.” Other than that, Lawrence’s impressions of New Mexico seemed positive. “The moment I saw the brilliant, proud morning shine high up over the deserts of Santa Fe, something stood still in my soul and I started to attend.” It appears to me that his overall impressions would be much better had he just limited his experiences to the land as opposed to the people, particularly white people.

 Cline, Lynn. Literary Pilgrims: The Santa Fe and Taos Writers' Colonies, 1917-1950. 2007.

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