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Passionate Spirit: The Life of Alma Mahler

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  20 ratings  ·  3 reviews
A new biography of Alma Mahler (1879-1964), revealing a woman determined to wield power in a world that denied her agency
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
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Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Basic Books
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Barbara Hall
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it
As a fan of the music of Gustav Mahler and always interested in the history of Vienna and the Hapsburg Empire, I was intrigued to learn more of Alma. Well researched and very readable prose, depicting the life of this musically gifted, intellectual and highly spirited woman who lived among the cultural elite. Disturbing though, to read how pervasive anti-semitism was during this period in Vienna, rendering Alma rather anti semitic.
L
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
An exceptionally irritating person. Well-written biography however. Yes, she was a complex person, but sometimes she just seemed intentionally provoking especially when she spouted her anti-Semitic rants. Selfish and utterly devoid of self awareness. A terrible mother and wife. And an error in the book. She met Conrat Veith????? Umm no. His name was Conrad Veidt. Still, from a music and art history perspective, it was very fascinating. Did not like her AT ALL.
Zuza Santa
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Alma is ofter pictured as an anti-Semitic self-centered muse to the famous men of her time. This book adds more complex view of her life as a passionate lover of music, talented composer in times when womens’ composing talent was atributed to their teachers rather than themselves. Cate Haste has done massive research thru letters and diaries of Alma and her livers - Mahler, Kokoschka, Gropius and Werfel. A must read!
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