The ideas in this essay convinced the wealthy bohemian Mabel Luhan that Lawrence would respond to her invitation, come to Taos, fight the good fight and put the Pueblo Indians on the literary map.
Hemingway’s fame rests on his tragic romances of love and death; his evocative stories crafted in spare prose; his vivid war reporting and travel books. He was not a comic writer, and when he tried to be funny he could be heavy-handed, as in his parody The Torrents of Spring, or embarrassingly arch, as in the tedious conversations with the Old Lady in the otherwise fascinating Death in the Afternoon. Yet his most underrated quality was his lively sense of humor.
Marilyn was a kind of touchstone for writers. Unsure of her own identity, she identified with others. She was warmly responsive to those who showed an interest in her, and the best authors appreciated her human qualities. The Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov was as handsome and sophisticated as Nikita Khrushchev was coarse and crude. He met Marilyn at a Hollywood party while he was working on the screenplay of Lolita in the spring of 1960, and examined her as if she were one of his exquisite butterflies. Stacy Schiff wrote that “in Vladimir’s recollection, ‘She was gloriously pretty, all bosom and rose’—and holding the hand of [her current lover] Yves Montand. Monroe took a liking to Vladimir, inviting the [Nabokovs] to a dinner, which they did not attend.