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To be a muse to a celebrated artist is surely one of the most flattering roles a person can have. But what is the life of a muse really like? In this spirited (and provocative) expose of nine women who fired the imaginations of some of the most inimitable artists and thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Francine Prose draws on photographs, diaries, correspondence, memoirs, and original works of art that reveal the complexity of these artist-muse relationships and illustrate the muse in all her guises: as inspiration, angel, equal partner and, sometimes, monster. The nine 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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