Cultivating the Muse: Struggles for Power and Inspiration in Classical Literature

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Cultivating the Muse looks beyond the secure and benign images traditionally associated with inspiration in classical literature and scholarship. In contrast to the shapeless collectivity of the Muses in ancient accounts, this collection aspires to redeem their shape in other more vital forms, closer or more distant incarnations of the ever-elusive maiden. Protagonists - or victims - in a complex game of cultural exploration, the alternative Muses and muse-like figures of this book are manipulated, abused, or effaced, but at the same time they also advocate or resist their fates and explore their own powers of persuasion. Inspiration is here not so much explored in its traditional cultic dimensions, but rather invoked for its capacity to trigger fervent debates about power, desire, knowledge, identity, and gender in the societies of ancient Greece and Rome.