Muses


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Muses,

in Greek religion and mythology, patron goddesses of the arts, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Originally only three, they were later considered as nine. Calliope was the Muse of epic poetry and eloquence; Euterpe, of music or of lyric poetry; Erato, of the poetry of love; Polyhymnia (or Polymnia), of oratory or sacred poetry; Clio, of history; Melpomene, of tragedy; Thalia, of comedy; Terpsichore, of choral song and dance; Urania, of astronomy. Some say that Apollo was their leader. Early places of their worship were the district of Pieria, in Thessaly, where they were often called Pierides, and Mt. Helicon, in Boeotia. The springs of Castalia, Aganippe, and Hippocrene were sacred to them.

Muses

 

in ancient Greek mythology the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne; goddesses who were patronesses of the realms of human spiritual activity, including poetry, art, and the sciences. It was thought that the Muses inspired poets and artists; hence the frequent invocations to them at the beginning of works of ancient poetry. Centers for the worship of the Muses included Pieria near Mount Olympus, Mount Helicon with the spring at Hippocrene, and Delphi (at the foot of Mount Parnassus) with the Castalian Spring. The association with springs indicates that initially the Muses were worshiped as fertility goddesses.

The names of the nine Muses were first given in Hesiod’s Theogony (seventh century B.C.). However, specific realms of art and science were assigned to them only in late antiquity. It was thought that the Muse Euterpe patronized lyric poetry; Clio, history; Thalia, comedy; Melpomene, tragedy; Terpsichore, dance; Erato, erotic poetry; Polyhymnia, hymns; Urania, astronomy; and Calliope, epic poetry. The Muses were represented in European painting (Botticelli, Tintoretto, Tiepolo), and the names of some of them are used as synonyms for the different arts—for example, Terpsichore is used to mean “ballet.”

Muses

(Rom. Camanae) goddesses who presided over the arts. [Gk. Myth.: Howe, 172]
See: Music
References in periodicals archive ?
In the face of the scale of Walcott's opprobrium and anathemas against all race-based muses in this essay, I suggest that those who have not read the essay but are familiar with the dramatic action of the play should consider what occurs in the final "apotheosis" scene of the play.
More pertinent to the present discussion is the fact that Walcott is in this drama of Makak and his Muse whom he is forced to brutally exorcise radically subjecting the role of a Muse, or muses in general, to searing scrutiny and indictment.
As I have remarked earlier, this essay is a veritable attack on the appropriation of African-derived muses by Caribbean writers and artists of the school of extreme Black Nationalist rejection of all European influences in the name of a return to African sources.
At this point, and as a critical gloss on this passage, let me confess that it was mostly on the basis of the radically uncompromising, Edenic rejection of ancestral muses from both Africa and Europe as New World writers, in Walcott's formulation, set out to create the world afresh, it was on this basis that I chose the title for my talk in this paper: Forget the Muse and think only of the subject.
For without the least shadow of doubt, scholars of Soyinka's writings have conclusively decided that for the Nigerian poet, playwright and thinker, the personality or subjectivity of the artist, especially of great artists, suffers no diminution by acknowledgment of tutelage to a Muse, specifically the so-called "tribal" gods and muses of Walcott's disapprobation.
To put the matter as succinctly as possible, there is in A Dance of the Forests, a scathing critique of Muses and their workings on their human proteges, almost in the accents of Walcott's withering critique in "The Muse of History.