Psychoanalysts have long been fascinated with creative artists, but have paid far less attention to the men and women who motivate, stimulate, and captivate them. The Muse counters this trend with nine original contributions from distinguished psychoanalysts, art historians, and literary scholars—one for each of the nine muses of classical mythology—that explore the muses of disparate artists, from Nicholas Poussin to Alison Bechdel.
The Muse breaks new ground, pushing the traditional conceptualization of muses by considering the roles of spouse, friend, rival, patron, therapist—even a late psychoanalytic theorist—in facilitating creativity. Moreover, they do so not only by providing inspiration, but also by offering the artist needed material and emotional support; tolerating competitive aggression; promoting reflection and insight; and eliciting awe, anxiety and gratitude.
Integrating art history and literary criticism with a wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalytic perspectives, The Muse is essential reading for psychoanalysts and psychotherapists interested in the relationships that enhance and support creative work. Fully interdisciplinary, it is also accessible to readers in the fields of art, art history, literature, memoir, and film. The Muse sheds new light on that most mysterious dyad, the artist and muse—and thus on the creative process itself.