News for Wednesday, March 22, 2017

School for Advanced Research Field Trip Explores Mabel Dodge Luhan, D. H. Lawrence, and the Earthships of Northern New Mexico

Stanley CrawfordStanley CrawfordStanley Crawford

Experimental Living on the Edge of the Taos Desert

Since the late 1880s, northern New Mexico has been a place of starting over. But it really was in the early decades of the twentieth century, as people fled the collapse of modernity and the failure of progress in the wake of the Great War, that it came into its own as a refuge. That’s the theme of the May 12, 2017, field trip sponsored by the School for Advanced Research (SAR). Study leaders are garlic farmer and writer Stanley Crawford, and Mabel Dodge Luhan historian Ellen Bradbury. They will accompany twenty participants to Taos and environs to explore Experimental Living on the Edge of the Taos Desert: Mabel Dodge Luhan, D. H. Lawrence, and the Earthships of Northern New Mexico.

Seeking solace in the wide-open possibilities of the Taos desert, communities of reimagining blossomed. Participants will examine two such early twentieth-century communities, those of Mabel Dodge Luhan and D. H. Lawrence. Then they’ll visit a more modern manifestation of the same impulse: the earthship houses north of Taos.

Crawford, who in addition to tackling themes of deep regenerative culture in his many books, has lived an intentional life that embraces many of the tenets that underlie this movement. He is a garlic farmer and the author of The Neighboring Communities of Taos. His novels include (among others) Travel Notes, The Log of the S.S. the Mrs. Unguentine, Some Instructions, and Petroleum Man. His nonfiction works include A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm, about his El Bosque Garlic Farm in Dixon, New Mexico. His work Mayordomo: Chronicle of an Acequia in Northern New Mexico was the winner of the 1988 Western States Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. More on Crawford at

Ellen Bradbury read Mabel Dodge Luhan's papers in the Beinecke Library at Yale and has continued to speak and write on Luhan and her circle, including D. H. Lawrence, over the intervening decades. She has brought dozens of scholars, artists, and other interested parties to northern New Mexico to explore what made the place such a lodestone for creativity and experimentation.

The May 12 Taos field trip is limited to twenty participants, who must be members of SAR. Nonmembers can join here. The cost is $275 per person and includes a $50 donation to SAR, lunch, transportation, gratuities, and water on the bus. More on the field trip here.

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