This article was originally published on Common Edge.
Frank Lloyd Wright might be the most chronicled architect of the past 150 years. Scores of books, both mainstream and academic, have been written about him. “Wright scholars” are common in the academy. Dissertations are still being penned about the great man, six decades after his death. Philip Johnson called Wright “my favorite 19th-century architect.” (It was not meant as a compliment.) And yet every half-decade or so, Johnson’s mothership, MoMA, mounts yet another Wright exhibition, and thousands flock to see the now-familiar models, drawings, and photographs. Wright has even received the Ken Burns treatment, a full-length PBS documentary, surely a sign of his Mount Rushmore–like cultural status. Into this very crowded room now steps author Paul Hendrickson, whose new book, Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright (Knopf), attempts to shed new light on the architect.