Shaggy Muses: The Dogs Who Inspired Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf

Shaggy Muses: The Dogs Who Inspired Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, and Virginia WoolfMove Over Marley Make Room For Carlo Emily Dickinson S Giant Newfoundland Or Flush Elizabeth Barrett Browning S Golden Cocker Spaniel Or, Maybe, Keeper Emily Bronte S Intimidating Mastiff Mix In Self Contained Chapters Of Shaggy Muses, The Work Of Each Author Is Viewed Intimately Within The Context Of The Canine Companions Who Provided Love, Comfort And InspirationElizabeth Taylor, Literary Editor, The Chicago Tribune With This Book, Adams Has Created A Niche That Will Thrill Those Who Love Literature, Biography And DogsBark MagazineDog Lovers And Literary Groupies Alike Will Adore SHAGGY MUSES BookpageThese Concise Biographies Are Affecting And Engaging Kirkus Reviews Written With Lively, Accessible Prose, This Absorbing, Wholly Unique Book Is A Must Read For Literature And Dog Lovers Alike Booklist Lovers Of Both Dogs And Classic Writers Will Identify With This Sweet, Quirky Book Publishers WeeklyAn Intimate Look Into The Lives Of Famous Women Authors Whose Lives Were Difficult Than We Would Ever Have Imagined Their Dogs Helped Them To Survive And Create Their Great Works Of Classic English Literature Lovers Of Literature And All Of Those Interested In The Human Animal Bond Should Read This Fascinating Book Temple Grandin , Author Of Animals In TranslationI 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 Protection And All Of Them With A Curious Sense Of Identification With Another Spirit Which, Sometimes, Fuelled Their Writing No Mean Feat Margaret Forster, Author Of Elizabeth Barrett Browning The Life And Loves Of A Poet Adams, A Clinical Psychologist, Explores The Many Roles Companions, Objects Of Affection, Witnesses, Protectors, Guides These Dogs Played In Their Owners Lives And Their Appearances In Their Work How Charming To Visualize Delicate Emily Dickinson With Amiable Carlo, Her Newfoundland, Living Their Lives In Amherst, Or Edith Wharton, Traveling Through Europe With Her Pekes The Times Picayune Adams, An English Professor Turned Clinical Psychologist, Shows Verve And Just The Right Amount Of Playfulness Deftly, She Places These Furry Inspirations Into The Environments That Nurtured And Restricted Their Th And Th Century Mistresses The Result Are Five Entertaining And Insightful Minibiographies, Exquisite As The Th Century Miniature Of Barrett Browning And Her Lapdog Flush Included In The Text The Cleveland Plain Dealer These Stories Based On Diaries, Letters And Contemporary Accounts With Several Photographs, Many Told Here For The First Time Reveal Intimate Details And New Perspectives On These Giants Of English And American Literature, Made Even Memorable By Adams Lively Writing The Providence Journal Shaggy Muses Is Readable And Interestingfull Of Facts And Insights Adams Goes Beyond The Superficial And Provides Real Information The Oregonian Adams Writes These Concise Biographies With Intelligence, Verve And Tenderness, And Her Background In Literature And Psychology Makes Her Uniquely Qualified She Does Not Avert Her Gaze From Each Of Her Subject S Troubles But Rather Shows How Each Became A Greater Writer Partially Through Unconditional Canine Friendship And Devotion Times Dispatch You Ll Call This Sentimental Perhaps But Then A Dog Somehow Represents The Private Side Of Life, The Play Side, Virginia Woolf Confessed To A Friend And It Is This Private, Playful Side, The Richness And Power Of The Bond Between Five Great Women Writers And Their Dogs, That Maureen Adams Celebrates In This Deeply Engaging Book In Shaggy Muses, We Visit Elizabeth Barrett Browning And Flush, The Golden Cocker Spaniel Who Danced The Poet Away From Death, Back To Life And Human Love We Roam The Wild Yorkshire Moors With Emily Bront , Whose Fierce Mastiff Mix, Keeper, Provided A Safe And Loving Outlet For The Writer S Equally Fierce Spirit We Enter The Creative Sanctum Of Emily Dickinson, Which She Shared Only With Carlo, The Gentle, Giant Newfoundland Who Soothed Her Emotional Terrors We Mingle With Edith Wharton, Whose Ever Faithful Pekes Warmed Her Lonely Heart During Her Restless Travels Among Europe And America S Social And Intellectual Elite We Are Privileged Guests In The Fragile Universe Of Virginia Woolf, Who Depended For Emotional Support And Sanity Not Only On Her Human Loved Ones But Also On Her Dogs, Especially Pinka A Gift From Her Lover, Vita Sackville West A Black Cocker Spaniel Who Became A Strong, Bright Thread In The Fabric Of Virginia And Leonard Woolf S Life TogetherBased On Diaries, Letters, And Other Contemporary Accounts And Featuring Many Illustrations Of The Writers And Their Dogs These Five Miniature Biographies Allow Us Unparalleled Intimacy With Women Of Genius In Their Hours Of Domestic Ease And Inner Vulnerability Shaggy Muses Also Enchants Us With A Pack Of New Friends Flush, Keeper, Carlo, Foxy, Linky, Grizzle, Pinka, And All The Other Devoted Canines Who Loved And Served These Great Writers

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  • Hardcover
  • 288 pages
  • Shaggy Muses: The Dogs Who Inspired Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf
  • Maureen Adams
  • 21 July 2019
  • 9780345484062

10 thoughts on “Shaggy Muses: The Dogs Who Inspired Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf

  1. says:

    The short review A pleasant overview of several important female writers and their canine companions If you re not a dog person, you still won t be one after reading this book, but you may understand them a little better, even if you still think they re insane because they are.The details Bear in mind that this was written by a woman whose idea of trauma is being wealthy, happily married, and the mother of two normal, well adjusted children, and then moving from Kansas City, Missouri to Sonoma, California I am not wealthy and am stuck in a city I can t stand and can t afford to leave, so I m in no position to sympathize with this kind of problem Specifically, my response to the autobiographical introduction to this book was to feel pretty sure that I d read incorrectly and that Maureen Adams had actually been traumatized by having to move from the beautiful wine country of California to, no offense, freakin Missouri Which I m sure is absolutely lovely, but I m also pretty sure there s a reason you can still buy a huge house there for well under six digits, whereas just visiting Sonoma can set you back seven.Anyway Once the reader gets past the terrifying tale of being forced to move to a place so beautiful people are willing to pay big bucks to take even a brief vacation there, the book is an enjoyable enough read I admire all the writers Maureen Adams discusses in fact, they re all authors I singled out for study at some point in my reading career It was great fun revisiting Emily Bront s relationship with her huge dog Keeper, and learning additional details of the London dognappers who did such a brisk trade in ransoming the pets of the wealthy during Elizabeth Barrett Browning s life there with her beloved Cocker Spaniel, Flush.I have to ding this book a couple of stars, though, because Adams gets a lot wrong when it comes to Emily Dickinson When I saw Dickinson included on the list of women who, according to Adams, were inspired by their pet dogs, I thought, Wow That s strange All the biographies I ve read so far have hardly said a thing about Dickinson s dog It turns out there s a reason for that Dickinson s relationship with her dog just wasn t all that intense, especially compared with the bonds between the other writers and their canine companions She loved Carlo, and she mentioned him in her letters, and dogs certainly pop up in a few of her poems but she loved almost all animals saving cats , and she wrote far poems about birds than dogs Heck, she talks about mice in several of her poems, and you don t see anyone writing a book called Mouse as Muse Vermin in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson. Which is a shame I would read that so hard.Anyway Adams flubs a lot of facts in the section of this book devoted to Dickinson, which really makes me wonder what I didn t catch in the other chapters Some of these mistakes are fairly inconsequential It doesn t matter much that the book Emily and her brother Austin hid from their father in the piano not the bench, Ms Adams wasn t Ik Marvel s Reveries of a Bachelor but Henry Wadsworth Longfellow s novel Kavanagh. Then again, maybe it matters a little Kavanagh is the story of a friendship between two women so intense that some reviewers have insisted their love was an erotic one I read it I yawned But I digress Many writers have speculated about whether or not Dickinson was erotically attracted to women, based on letters she wrote that sound an awful lot like the conversations between the young women in Kavanagh.There are larger mistakes than this, however Adams describes Dickinson moving with her family to a house they called the Homestead She claims this was a traumatic move from her first home Actually, the Homestead was Dickinson s first home She was born there She lived there with her family for about a decade Then she and her family moved down the street and then, about a decade later, her father was able to purchase the house that not only had once belonged to Emily s grandfather, but that had been built by him Yes, the move back to this home was undoubtedly an unsettling one to Dickinson but any move is unsettling, and describing this as the first move of her life to a house she d never known is incorrect and highly misleading.Equally misleading is Adams assertion that Dickinson used the death of her dog Carlo as an excuse not to take a trip to see a friend In response to some question from Thomas Wentworth Higginson, perhaps his oft repeated urging You must come down to Boston sometimes All ladies do, Emily reminded Higginson that she was still mourning her dog Thank you, I wish for Carlo First of all, the standard collection of Dickinson s letters leaves no doubt that Higginson was indeed inviting her to come to see him in Boston, so it s odd that Adams would present this as a perhaps Second, Dickinson made no such reply She did say Thank you, I wish for Carlo in the letter in question but only after her real refusal to visit Boston, which was phrased thus I must omit Boston Father prefers so He likes me to travel with him but objects that I visit.The fact that Adams twists the facts to fit her own ideas makes this book a lightweight and not entirely reliable overview, rather than the insightful study it might have been The end of the chapter about Dickinson is awkwardly abrupt because it has to be to suit Adams purposes Carlo died twenty years before Dickinson did, and Adams needs Carlo to be significant than he really was, so she closes by suggesting, The last twenty years of Emily s life were quiet Excuse me, but they weren t Not any quiet than the rest of her life had been, anyway Those last two decades included the one confirmed romance of Dickinson s life a relationship so tender and passionate that her sister in law didn t want to cross the street to pay a visit in case she caught Emily on the sofa in the arms of her suitor AGAIN The man in question s niece later accused Dickinson of being a hussy and chasing all the men I love that so much Those years also included her brother engaging in an extramarital affair that would directly impact how and when Dickinson s poetry was posthumously published More about that in another review That affair was conducted in Emily Dickinson s very own flippin house, during the day Hey, her brother couldn t go to his own house his wife was there And he couldn t have liaisons with his lover at night how would it look So he met his mistress several times a month at the Homestead, and, um, visited with her while Dickinson sat upstairs trying to write poetry, or possibly plugging her ears and saying LALALALALA Maybe both at the same time, which would explain why she wrote so comparatively few poems in those last few years.I m not saying any of this belongs in an essay about Dickinson and her dog I m saying, stop implying, for authorial convenience, that Dickinson s life was boring and uneventful after her dog died.I did enjoy the chapters about the other writers, especially Emily Bront and Edith Wharton But the afterword, The Dogs, is intensely annoying, in part because once again Adams makes up facts Like this one Unlike other domesticated animals such as cows, sheep, or horses dogs made the first move toward living with people This occurred when a wolf ancestor, a bit less wary than other wolves, discovered it was easier to survive on food discarded by humans than to hunt.I don t remember there being a consensus on that And Adams doesn t cite a source So I call shenanigans That might be what happened, but it might not Putting a hypothesis forward as a fact is not cool.I do think this is a valuable book because the short biographies of each writer include a lot of engaging quotes that are sure to pique the reader s interest in learning about that author s life and work Full points to Maureen Adams for that But maybe try a little harder to get the facts right next time, please

  2. says:

    Conhecer um pouco melhor estas cinco escritoras atrav s dos seus c es foi um prazer e um privil gio.

  3. says:

    Loved this little book It has five excellent condensed biographies, of all women authors who have a human dog bond They relied on their devoted dogs to help them through difficult times and First was Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her dog, Flush which was the subject for Woolf s book I haven t read her biography and I was shocked at how limited her life was before she got Flush That dog made it possible for her to leave her home, marry and have a full life Emily Bronte and her dog, Keeper, was an interesting relationship Emily saw Keeper as a reflection of her own nature Both refused to be dominated or to accommodate others expectations In the end, Emily taught Keeper who was dominate and he was faithful even after her death Emily Dickinson suffered greatly from anxiety Her father decided that she needed a big dog to make her feel safe And he purchased a Newfoundland dog and she named him Carlo In her 20s Emily had terrible pain in her eyes rheumatic iritis which made her intolerant to light, but she had Carlo by her side She even put Carlo in her Master Letters Edith Wharton had a lonely life and a distant, loveless mother As a young girl, she survived typhoid fever which shows how strong she was Later she married a man who did not love her But late in life finally had a loving relationship But after that relationship ended, Edith found that she was very lonely She loved dogs and they became her constant companions, especially Foxy, Linky and all the dogs inbetween.Last, Virginia Woolf was also one who needed many dogs over the years to help her with her mental illness The author retraced Woolf s walks over the Sussex downs Both she and her husband Leonard knew the how important it was for her to have a dog Virginia relied on Gurth, Grizzle and Pink.

  4. says:

    This was one of the most satisfying, fascinating pieces of non fiction I ve read in a while Well written and well researched.

  5. says:

    Not a big I would have normally picked up but a decently interesting read I am not too familiar with a lot of these poet Author s work but I have at least heard of them and now know a lot about them, at least some of their work, and their personal lives It really gave some of their work meaning and I enjoyed that I like dogs but I am of a cat person, so I wasn t as awed as some people may have been Interesting read

  6. says:

    The author here takes five popular women writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and focuses primarily on their relationships with their dogs Each woman was emotionally attached to their pet dogs and used them to overcome sickness physical and psychological and as muses to their creative works.I was excited by the concept of the book especially about the chapter regarding Edith Wharton and her little gentlemen and the photograph of her with her two chihuahuas sitting on her shoulders is included and was mostly not disappointed The book was just additional mini biographies about the women with occasional paragraphs regarding their animals I expected or perhaps I expected less of their personal lives I feel I know enough already about Edith s extracurricular relationships and the fact that Emily Dickinson preferred to wear white All in all, however, the information was relayed well and was interesting throughout I did discover that Elizabeth Barrett Browning lived in Florence after disobeying her father and marrying Robert Browning, and had her precious cocker spaniel, Flush, buried there The chapter about Emily Dickinson was surprisingly short to me I would have liked to have learned about her Newfoundland, Carlo.For those of us obsessed with our dogs, and for those of us who talk about our dogs as if they are real people, this is worth a read and quite a comfort to know that this is a natural and normal behavior.

  7. says:

    They say that behind every great man there has to be a great woman, but behind a great woman They do not mention Perhaps we should look down toward the hearth Shaggy Muses, by Maureen Adams, is a heartful tribute to the dogs who unknowingly, and unconditionally inspired five iconic female writers Emily Bront , Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edith Wharton, Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf.I suppose there are dog lovers in all walks of life So, what makes this connection interesting, or is it just a coincidence Having read to the end, I see that the dogs differing vastly in breed, breeding, size and temperament played differing roles in the lives of each woman, but there are themes in these interspecies bonds too strikingly similar to be coincidental That makes for a fascinating read, but the dogs themselves make it heart wrenchingly un put downable for this dog lover at least.Sadly all women had one clear thing in common traumatic lives That is a well trod path for writers in general not so much in terms of life s challenging events per se, but the heightened sensitivity and emotionality of creative people leaves them ill equipped for bereavements, illnesses, emotional or physical abuse, the sheer overwhelming nature of creative output itself, and in many cases everyday life in general In each of these five cases the dog or dogs had a soothing and joyful influence, keeping the writer grounded, as well as offering empathy, employing that other worldly sixth sensitivity which is the hallmark of their species.

  8. says:

    Too full of remote speculative psychoanalysis, especially built upon premises that were unsafe in the first place One key example is the alleged beating given to her dog Keeper by Emily Bronte a luridly told story from the Gaskell biography of Charlotte Bronte, which is known to be somewhat exaggerated and unreliable for many reasons It leads the author a psychologist to then imply Bronte APPROVED of violence and looked down on certain animals, and that this informs her writing in Wuthering Heights Thankfully other, carefully reading scholars, have been able to show how Bronte used the animal and other violence in Wuthering Heights to CRITICISE violence, for example, Judith E Pike s 2009 paper My name was Isabella Hinton In addition, predictably and depressingly, the author, as has been woeful common practice for many years now in biography history writing, also gives psychogenic explanations to virtually all the physical illnesses suffered by these women authors She ends up psychobabbling interminably, possibly to flesh out the relative paucity of known facts about the authors under study and their relationships with their dogs A few people not just women perhaps and less psychobabble might have meant a measured, sober understanding of the relationships these authors had with their dogs.

  9. says:

    As a dog lover, I really enjoyed this interesting little book The author once taught college level English lit and is now a clinical psychologist, so she provides some very interesting insights into these troubled, but talented, women Five women writers and their dogs are profiled Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Flush , Emily Bronte and Keeper , Emily Dickinson and Carlo , Edith Wharton and Foxy and Linky , and finally, Virginia Woolf and Gurth , Grizzle , and Pinka In an afterword, she analyzes the human canine bond shown in these lives I had to wonder if having a miserable childhood were necessary to becoming an accomplished writer, since each of these women had really quite unhappy early years For most of them, as the author explains at the end, the dogs took the place of their mothers as attachment figures The only relationship I thought strayed outside of that analysis was that of Emily Bronte and her dog, Keeper I found the story about her to be deeply disturbing Emily came across as a freakish bully and I recoiled at some of her behavior toward poor Keeper All of the stories were absorbing and were enlivened by either portraits or photos of the women and of the dogs This was a quick, easy, and very enjoyable read.

  10. says:

    A lovely book The author provides interesting accounts of the important supportive roles dogs played in the lives of these authors I especially liked the chapters on Emily Dickenson and Elizabeth Barrett Browning The Bronte chapter was powerful but disturbing, not surprising considering the subject I love the poem Edith Wharton wrote it captures so much about our relationships with our dogs with just a few words My little old dog A heart beatAt my feet.

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