Wednesday, May 28, 2014

9 Muses Who Inspired Incredible Literature

Where do artists get their ideas? According to the Ancient Greeks, artistic inspiration came from one of the Muses, female deities who gave men the power to create. (The female artist hadn't yet been invited to the party.) The poet Hesiod expanded the three original muses to nine: Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia and Urania. These benign creatures would give poets a laurel branch, the voice to sing their verse and special knowledge of the past and future.

As there were nine muses in Ancient Greece, I have chosen nine examples of notable literary muses throughout history. It has to be said that the role has evolved from deity to something more accessible. The love of an artist for his muse might be cerebral, but in recent times it's also likely to be physical. Some artists seek inspiration via pharmaceutical intoxication, others via romantic obsession. Perhaps the muse symbolizes the eternal mystery at the heart of creativity, or the eternal confusion between inspiration and intoxication.

Dante fell in love with Beatrice in fourteenth century Florence when both of them were nine years old. Beatrice appears as one of Dante's guides in the Divine Comedy, leading him to the Beatific Vision. The poet's love for Beatrice was idealized in the courtly love 

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