An influential New York salon host and perpetual seeker of meaning, Mabel Dodge entered psychoanalysis in 1916 with A.A. Brill, the first American psychoanalyst, continuing until she moved to New Mexico in December 1917. In Taos, she met Antonio Luhan, the Pueblo Indian who became her fourth husband in 1923, a radical union that forever altered her turbulent life.
From the beginning of her analysis until 1944, Mabel wrote to Brill and he replied, yielding 122 letters. No other such extensive, elaborate written conversations exist between patient and analyst. This book presents a narrative organized around these letters, featuring the turmoil in Mabel’s relationships with others, most notably D. H. Lawrence, as well as her extraordinarily candid memoirs, both published and unpublished, inspired by Brill’s fierce insistence upon constructive outlets. In her correspondence, as in life, Mabel was despairing, insightful, insecure, and talented, reporting to Brill her emotional states, seeking his advice. With warmth and frankness, he offered opinions, affection, and interpretations.
Corresponding Lives is the story of one woman’s sustained connection to her psychoanalyst through letters and a revelation of the vital role an analyst can play years after formal treatment. This correspondence is a rare archival treasure in the history of psychoanalysis.