Passionate Spirit: The Life of Alma Mahler

Passionate Spirit: The Life of Alma Mahler

by Cate Haste


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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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465096718
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 09/10/2019
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 777,669
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Cate Haste is a biographer, historian, and filmmaker. She is the author of a number of books, including Nazi Women and the award-winning biography Sheila Fell: A Passion for Paint. Haste lives in London.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Vienna Childhood 1879-1898 1

2 Awakening 1898-1899 25

3 Love and Music 1899-1901 39

4 Divine Longing 1901-1902 59

5 A Nobler Calling 1902-1907 79

6 Grief and Renewal 1907-1910 97

7 "To Live for You, to Die for You" 1910-1911 115

8 Tempest 1911-1914 135

9 War and Marriage 1914-1917 153

10 Intertwined Souls 1917-1920 171

11 Conflict 1921-1931 195

12 Gathering Storms 1931-1936 215

13 Flight 1936-1941 237

14 Exile 1941-1946 259

15 La Grande Veuve 1946-1964 279

Appendix: The Songs and Works of Alma Mahler-Werfel 297

Acknowledgments 299

Notes 301

Bibliography 333

Figure Credits 337

Index 339

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