Travel Culture: Essays on What Makes Us Go

By Carol Traynor Williams | Go to book overview

D. H. Lawrence in Taos: High Pilgrimage, Low Pilgrimage

JOHN W. PRESLEY

When I first came into the presence of D. H. Lawrence's paintings, I immediately saw and felt how they charged the air with colour.

-- Harry T. Moore

ALTHOUGH THEY may know that D. H. Lawrence lived and worked for eleven months in Taos in 1924-25 and even know that his ashes were placed in a "chapel" there in 1934, tourists and pilgrims to New Mexico may be startled by the various ways in which Lawrence is remembered and presented to the traveler. As Anthony Burgess says in his Lawrence study, Flame into Being,

Anyone wishing to contact the ghost of Lawrence in Taos will find his books and books about him in the shops, as well as a display of some of his paintings at La Fonda, on the Taos plaza (the mildly erotic ones may be viewed only on request). The Lawrence ranch is still there, the log cabin in which he lived with Frieda intact, and the small chapel where his remains are interred is kept in order for tourists. Brett's home has been turned into a restaurant called Whitey's. (258)

D. H. Lawrence's Kiowa ranch, which one can reach by going fifteen miles northeast of Taos, then five miles up a gravel road, was home to Lawrence in 1924-25. Birnbaum's Santa Fe and Taos has a short historical paragraph on the Lawrence ranch:

The small house was a gift to Lawrence from Mabel Dodge Luhan, the wealthy sponsor of Taos's artistic and literary community, who tried (unsuccessfully) to persuade the author to settle in the area. After his death, Lawrence's wife,

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