Passionate Spirit: Book summary and reviews of Passionate Spirit by Cate Haste

Passionate Spirit

The Life of Alma Mahler

by Cate Haste

Passionate Spirit by Cate Haste X
Passionate Spirit by Cate Haste
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2019
    368 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] sympathetic, engrossing biography of Viennese socialite and composer Alma Mahler...Haste beautifully reprises the life of this force of nature." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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

"In this meticulously researched and absorbing biography...Mahler is depicted as a woman who not only facilitated the creative pursuits of her husbands and lovers, but was an intellectual and creative force in her own right." - Hannah Beckerman, The Guardian (UK)

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Author Information

Cate Haste

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.

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