Miranda Seymour

The Untouchables

The Lives of the Muses: Nine Woman And The Artists They Inspired

By

Aurum Press 416pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

FRANCINE PROSE IS an elegant and perceptive writer. The author of several highly praised novels, she has chosen nine women who show the muse in all her guises, as inspiration, monster, angel, partner and independent spirit. A few – Lee Miller, Charis Weston, Suzanne Farrell – are unlikely to be familiar to English readers. A surprising absence, since Robert Graves is frequently quoted, is Laura Riding, without whom it is unlikely that Graves would ever have dreamed up that mother of all muses, the White Goddess, queen of the woods and legitimiser of the poet’s right to seek out beautiful young women and crown them, one by one, as his source of inspiration.

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