Michael's Reviews > Shaggy Muses: The Dogs Who Inspired Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf

Shaggy Muses by Maureen Adams
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's review
Apr 28, 2011

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bookshelves: audio
Read from March 31 to April 28, 2011

This was a little different from what I expected, but it was still enjoyable and informative. I will admit that my knowledge of the literature of these authors is shamefully deficient. I suspect I may have enjoyed the book a little more if I was more familiar with their works.

That being said, the stories of these authors and the dogs which shared their lives was fascinating. Most of the dogs served as emotional surrogates of one type or another. In many cases the authors were able to emotionally connect with (and in some cases communicate through) their dogs in ways they could not on an interpersonal level.

Analysis of the works of the individuals is supplemented with biographies, personal writings including letters and diaries, and the recollections of their contemporaries. Shaggy Muses is a good introduction to the writings of these women, the women themselves, and the psychologies of their personal and creative lives.

For the most part the audio quality was good. There were a few moments where unnatural breaks and non-standard pronunciations pull the listener out of the narrative. My chief complaint was with the reading of some of the letters and many of the poems (especially in the Dickens section). The emphasis and breaks as read were quite different from how I would have read them. This was jarring for me, but may be a matter of personal taste.

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