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By Francine Prose

In her interesting and provocative new booklet, nationwide e-book Award finalist Francine Prose explores the complicated dating among artist and muse. The Lives of the Muses is a set of exquisitely written biographical essays on 9 awesome girls and the artists they encouraged. one of the 9 muses there are various adaptations at the topic: from the younger Alice Liddell, who encouraged Oxford don Charles Dodgson to put in writing Alice in Wonderland, to celebrities of their personal correct similar to Gala Dali and Yoko Ono, who defy the stereotype of the inspiration as a passive attractiveness wear a pedestal and oppressed through a male artist. The muses are: Hester Thrale (Samuel Johnson); Alice Liddell (Lewis Carroll); Elizabeth Siddal (Dante Gabriel Rossetti); Lou Andreas-Salome (Nietzsche, Rilke and Freud); Gala Dali (Salvador Dali); Lee Miller (Man Ray); Charis Weston (Edward Weston); Suzanne Farrell (George Balanchine); and Yoko Ono (John Lennon).

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Freud, Lou said, didn’t answer, yet easily placed his arm round her. via THEN, Lou had already received a specific amount of perform within the paintings of claiming farewell to the lads she enjoyed; simply Freud outlived her, and never via very lengthy. In 1901, Paul Rée died in a suspicious fall from a mountain in the course of a mountain climbing day trip, an obvious coincidence rumored to have masked a suicide. In her memoir, Lou mourns the truth that Rée used to be born too early to have reaped the advantages of psychoanalysis, which, she tricks, may have kept him. however the speaking therapy did little to rescue Viktor Tausk, who killed himself in 1919, and whose dying brought on a chilling trade among Lou and the Professor. “Poor Tausk,” wrote Freud, “who you for your time preferred along with your friendship, devoted suicide on three. 7 . . . I confess that i don't particularly omit him; I had lengthy learned that he can be of no extra provider, certainly that he constituted a probability to the long run . . . i might have dropped him some time past if you happen to hadn’t raised him so in my estimation. ” Lou absorbs the surprise of her former lover’s loss of life so good that, after in short mourning that “frenzied soul with a young heart,” she is going directly to subscribe to Freud of their frosty pas de deux on Viktor Tausk’s grave: “What you write: ‘that essentially you don't omit him,’ turns out to me now not in basic terms comprehensible; for I too felt him to be one of those ‘threat to the longer term’ either for you and for psycho-analysis . . . He knew my misgivings approximately him, and my apprehensions approximately his choice to pursue an educational occupation in Vienna. In March he desired to come to Munich, yet i used to be opposed to it. His final letter, like many prior ones, i didn't solution. And he was once justified in writing a yr in the past: ‘No one desires the corporate of an unsatisfied wretch—not even you. ’ No, now not even I. ” None of this is able to have come as a shock to Poul Bjerre, who, in an interview with H. F. Peters, remembered being stunned by means of Lou’s nonchalant reaction to Paul Rée’s suicide. “ ‘Don’t you have got any pangs of sense of right and wrong? ’ I requested her. yet she simply laughed and stated that moral sense was once an indication of weak point. I observe that this can were bravado, yet she did look unconcerned in regards to the outcomes of her activities and was once during this recognize extra like a strength of nature than a person. ” Bjerre, too, had now not solely shaken off the results of Lou’s spell, and a few lingering chemistry of attraction and disillusion enabled him, many years later, to provide a penetrating precis of Lou’s personality and of her results on others; his layered, ambivalent portrait defined her skill to operate as muse for the lads she encouraged. “She had the reward of coming into thoroughly into the brain of the fellow she enjoyed. Her huge, immense focus fanned, because it have been, her partner’s highbrow fireplace . . . Her strangely robust will loved to conquer males . . . i feel Nietzsche was once correct while he acknowledged that Lou used to be a completely evil girl. Evil, despite the fact that, within the Goethean feel: evil that produces reliable. She damage me a lot yet she additionally gave me a lot.

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