Friday, July 13, 2007

Shaggy Muses

Shaggy Muses: The Dogs Who Inspired Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edith Wharton and Emily Brontë by Maureen Adams appears this month published by Ballantine Books:

For lovers of dogs and lovers of literature comes SHAGGY MUSES: The Dogs Who Inspired Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edith Wharton and Emily Brontë (A Ballantine Books Hardcover; On Sale: July 31, 2007), by dog owner, psychologist, and former literature professor Maureen Adams.

Based on diaries, letters, and other contemporary accounts, and featuring many illustrations of the writers and their dogs, the five miniature biographies in SHAGGY MUSES highlight the extraordinary and creatively productive relationships between five of our most beloved writers and their dogs, who accompanied them not only during their houses of writing, but also in moments of domestic ease and inner vulnerability.

SHAGGY MUSES celebrates the bond between these five great women writers and their dogs with stories such as these: Elizabeth Barrett Browning was coaxed out of a life-threatening depression by her Cocker Spaniel puppy, Flush; Emily Brontë's formidable Mastiff, Keeper, provided a safe and loving outlet for the writer's equally fierce spirit; Emily Dickinson, anxious and reclusive, ventured outside her father's house only when accompanied by Carlo, her giant Newfoundland; Edith Wharton, regal and formal in her circle of male admirers, relaxed when she played silly games with Linky, her adored Pekingese; and Virginia Woolf's Cocker Spaniel Pinka (a gift from Vita Sackville-West) helped her to connect intimately with both her husband and her lover.

These private, playful, and rich stories - many of them told here for the first time - offer an engaging and unusual glimpse into the lives of legendary women writers who relied on their shaggy muses in every way - physically, emotionally, and creatively.
We love this praise by Margaret Forster:
"I so enjoyed SHAGGY MUSES. It manages very successfully to bring into focus exactly why these dogs were important to these writers - an intriguing mixture of providing some with confidence, some with love, some with production and all of them with a curious sense of identification with another spirit which, sometimes, fuelled their writing. No mean feat."
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