Frank Lloyd Wright: An Interpretive Biography documents the life and work of the United States’ most influential architect. His long career is divided into eleven phases, each treated in a separate chapter and presented in chronological order. Robert Charles Twombly has interpreted Wright’s designs as expressions of a social philosophy shaped by the turmoils of his private life. The author relates formative childhood experiences in detail and deals frankly with Wright’s unconventional relationships with women.
When he was eighteen, Wright and his mother were abandoned by his hapless father after years of embittering alienation. The boy sided with his mother and longed for the stable family life of her Welsh relatives. Wright strove to unite that stability with freedom in architectural forms that created newly conceived living spaces. Twombly tries to correct the partiality of Wright’s accounts of his childhood, which portray his mother as a guiding angel who prophesied before his birth that he would become a great architect. With an objective historian’s even hand, Twombly traces Wright’s architectural bent to the Froebel blocks that his mother gave him and to his father’s interest in art.
Wright’s work grew out of his family situation. His mother’s family was devoutly Unitarian, and thus his first known architectural rendering was for a nearby Unitarian chapel. He designed several other chapels throughout his career. A special...
(The entire section is 441 words.)