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Shaggy Muses

The Dogs Who Inspired Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf
Narrated by: Polly Stone
Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
4 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 Brontë, 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 soon became a strong, bright thread in the fabric of Virginia and Leonard Woolf's life together.

Based on diaries, letters, and other contemporary accounts, 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.

©2007 Maureen Adams (P)2007 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Lovers of both dogs and classic writers will identify with this sweet, quirky book." ( Publishers Weekly)

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    5 out of 5 stars

poignant and insightful

well researched examination of the bond between noted writers and their companion animals. The author gives us a fresh perspective on the lives of a select group of literary women authors, spanning the late 1800s to the yearly 20th century. Anyone who loves literature and dogs will be deeply moved by these bio-profiles.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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fascinating, fresh look at the lives of authors

I read a lot of history books, and I'm always disappointed historians don't look more at psychology when examining the past. History and psychology are my favorite subjects, and I find the lives of writers fascinating...and I love dogs. So when I saw this in the bookstore of Edith Wharton's house, The Mount, I was intrigued. I was happy to find there's an audio version though, and I thought the reader had a very pleasant voice. This is a fascinating book that gives an overview of each woman's life and work, delving into the personal world of each woman. It was refreshing to hear about the struggles these women faced because it made them much more relatable. I felt the author did a great job of giving a short history of each author and provide some thoughts from the perspective of a psychologist. And of course, I loved the fresh take of studying dogs! Very easy to listen to for a history book...well-paced and interesting without getting bogged down in details. Definitely recommend for those who like women's history, especially 19th and early 20th, or literature, or dogs.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Limbic resonance

Sums it all up ..... The creative flows from limbic resonance.
Enjoyed very much learning of others deep attachment to their dogs

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  • Fiona Thurn
  • 04-27-16

Detail page is a little misleading

Reading the description of this book I thought I was purchasing a collection of writings by the subjects that centre on their pets. No such thing. As stated a little later in the description, they are potted biographies by a dog lover. This book isn't a collection of literary curiosities. It isn't literary at all. It's a pop biography written from a specific stance. You might like it, but I was reading hoping for the words of those it deals with; no such luck. For me it was a huge let down. Oh, and the narrator should look up the pronunciation of English place names, especially Torquay! Very annoying.