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Passionate Spirit: The Life of Alma Mahler

Passionate Spirit: The Life of Alma Mahler

Passionate Spirit: The Life of Alma Mahler

By Cate Haste

"In this sympathetic, engrossing biography of Viennese socialite and composer Alma Mahler, Haste traces Mahler's struggle to find equilibrium among her men (all creative geniuses), her erotic desires, and her own musical ambition."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A well-rounded portrait of an imperious woman and her eventful life."―Kirkus Reviews

History has long vilified Alma Mahler. Critics accused her of distracting Gustav Mahler from his work, and her passionate love affairs shocked her peers. Drawing on Alma's vivid, sensual, and overlooked diaries, biographer Cate Haste recounts the untold and far more sympathetic story of this ambitious and talented woman. Though she dreamed of being the first woman to compose a famous opera, Alma was stifled by traditional social values. Eventually, she put her own dreams aside and wielded power and influence the only way she could, by supporting the art of more famous men. She worked alongside them and gained credit as their muse, commanding their love and demanding their respect.

Passionate Spirit restores vibrant humanity to a woman time turned into a caricature, providing an important correction to a history where systemic sexism has long erased women of talent.

368 pages
Basic Books, 2019
6.4 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
ISBN 9780465096718
Biography, Austrian History, Music 

$32.00 $32.00