Tuesday, February 23, 2016


ROBERT SCHANKE - Mercedes DeAcosta book

Mercedes DeAcosta came from a respectable Catholic Cuban family that immigrated to the United States, and became an expatriate in Paris who was well known for her lesbian seductions. This book details her self realization that she was different and her acceptance of that fact with much turmoil which she got over: she had Greta Garbo and Eva Le Gallienne, both famous actresses, as lovers, and is said to have made the rounds of women.  Her older heterosexual sister, Rita, who became renown for her fashion design and sense, went to Paris first.  They both moved in artistic and literary circles starting in the 1900's. 

When Rita learned that her husband was having an affair with a woman who didn't dress well, she said "I can't have you going around with a creature who looks like that" and sent the woman off to Callot Soeurs for new fashions. (page 33)

In Paris, Rita and Mercedes met the sculptor Rodin.

Isadora Duncan had met him a few years earlier. 

She reported "Finally he took a small quantity of clay and pressed it between his palms.  He breathed hard as he did so.  The heat streamed from him like a radiant furnace.  In a few moments he had formed a woman's breast, that palpitated beneath his fingers."  Then he turned to Duncan.  "He gazed at me with lowered lids, his eyes blazing, and then with the same expression that he had before his works, he came towards me.  He ran his hands over my neck, breast, stroked my arms and ran his hands over my hips, my bare legs and feet.  He began to kneed my whole body as if it wet clay, while from him emanated heat that scorched and melted me."  (pages 24-25)

In June 1926, Mercedes went again to Paris.  Word was out that Isadora was in a hotel on the Left Bank, destitute and deserted by her friends, possibly starving.  "Almost immediately, Mercedes hailed a taxi and sped off to find her.  To Mercedes' delight, Duncan greeted her at the door with "Archangel!  I think you are an archangel. How did you find me?"  (page 79)

In no time at all, an intimate romance resumed between them. Duncan penned a poem to Mercedes that overflowed with sexual images. (The poem is in the book, as is another message from Isadora in which she has just now known love for the first time.)  Duncan wrote later that "I believe the highest love is purely spiritual flame which is not necessarily dependent on sex."  (page 80)

This statement has been interpreted, I believe incorrectly.  I think Isadora didn't mean sex, but gender.

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