The Muse as Eros: Music, Erotic Fantasy and Male Creativity in the Romantic and Modern Imagination

Routledge, 29 .. 2017 - 312 ˹
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The Muse has long been figured as a divine or erotically alluring consort to the virile male artist, who may inspire him or lead him to the edge of madness. This book explores the changing cultural expressions of the relationship between the male artist with a beloved, imagined or desired Muse, to offer new and penetrating perspectives on musical representations and transformations of creative masculine subjectivity, and important aspects of the shift from the styles and aesthetics of Romantic Idealism to Modernist Anxiety in music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Each of the chapters begins with explorations into male artists' relationships with their Muse, and moves to analysis and interpretation which uncovers cultural constructions of masculine artistic inspiration and production, and their association with creatively inspiring and erotically charged relationships with a Muse. New insights are offered into the musical meaning and cultural significance of selected works by Rossini, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Wagner, Sibelius, Mahler, Bartók, Scriabin, Szymanowski, Debussy, Berg, Poulenc and Weill.


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List of Music Examples
Stendhals crystallization
Schumann Chopin the fan of Eros and the beloveds kiss
Sibeliuss early
Idyllic fantasies
Trauma and erotic elegy in Bartóks preFirst
Names chords and the pale princess in Debussys musical
Poulencs erotics of humour melancholy abjection
Names chords and Lulus portrait as Muse
Szymanowski Schumann

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Stephen Downes is Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Surrey, UK.