Saturday, February 15, 2014
Boks I'm Reading: The Lives of the Muses
In her introduction, Prose looks briefly at the classical muses, what it has meant to be a muse in more Earthly terms since then, and specifically at the notion of inspiration in the arts. She admits that artistic inspiration remains somewhat mysterious, but points out that we are stubbornly curious about the genesis of art anyway. Again in her afterward, she attempts to find some common threads in the stories she has told. In the end, however, I feel the book is best read as a collection of nine essays about specific relationships without trying too hard to extract broad conclusions about musedom, and each of the nine essays reads well as an independent piece of writing. The essays about Lee Miller and Man Ray and about Suzanne Farrell and George Balanchine were of special interest to me--perhaps because in these two cases both the muses were themselves artists of importance, and, in the case of the choreographer and his muse, the love seems to have been particularly deep, the relationship between artist and muse particularly close, although it never became sexual. Recommended.