Mabel Dodge Luhan: Background information when reading Second Place

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Second Place

by Rachel Cusk

Second Place by Rachel Cusk X
Second Place by Rachel Cusk
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  • Published:
    May 2021, 192 pages

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Elisabeth Cook
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Mabel Dodge Luhan

This article relates to Second Place

sepia-tinted photo of Mabel Dodge LuhanRachel Cusk reveals through a note at the end of her novel Second Place that the book is based on Lorenzo in Taos, a 1932 memoir by Mabel Dodge Luhan recounting the time the author D.H. Lawrence spent with her in Taos, New Mexico. Luhan, whose full name was Mabel Ganson Evans Dodge Sterne Luhan (as the result of multiple marriages), was a famous patron known for her support of writers, artists and other influential people. She had a contentious relationship with Lawrence, which she detailed in her memoir.

Luhan was born Mabel Ganson to wealthy parents in Buffalo, New York in 1879. At a young age, she became disillusioned with the banalities and oppressive nature of upper-class life. Her first husband, Karl Evans, died in a hunting accident, leaving her widowed with a child. Shortly after, she traveled to Europe with her son John, where she met and married Edwin Dodge, an architect from Boston. Dodge offered her security and a life of luxury in Italy that enabled her to begin ...

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