Writer, artist, Manhattan gallery owner, and co-editor of the Little Review, Jane Heap was one of the most dynamic figures of the international avant garde, creating a life that defined the "modernist experience" as a syncretic one. Deliberately seeking a low profile throughout her life, Heap has frustrated many scholars interested in her personal life and the extraordinarily vital period in which she lived. Through her correspondence, Heap here reveals her intimate self as well as her more public, creative relationships with some of the legends of modern art, literature, and spirituality. Focusing primarily on the voluminous letters written by Heap to Florence Reynolds, the correspondence included in this volume spans the years from 1908-1949, incorporating additional illuminating letters to Reynolds from other significant figures in Heap's life.
Heap's letters reveal the radical transformation of a dreamy, young Midwestern woman into a forceful, sophisticated arbiter of international modernism and provide rare insight into the struggle for lesbian identity and community during the inter-war period. They detail her eventual abandonment of art in the search for the transcendent in the seductive and esoteric mysticism of George Gurdjieff. Holly Baggett's accompanying essay further highlights the boldness of Jane Heap's aesthetics and life.