In this weekend’s edition of the Wall Street Journal I review Cate Haste’s feminist biography of Alma Mahler.
On the second page of “Passionate Spirit,” the English biographer Cate Haste runs up her flag: “I like Alma Mahler,” she declares. This statement places the author in direct contradiction to three famous husbands, numerous lovers and most of Alma’s acquaintance. A femme fatale who proclaimed herself a muse to genius, Alma Mahler aroused lust in her youth and gossip-seekers into her 80s. But not many people who knew her liked her very much, or for very long. I clearly remember her daughter, Anna Mahler, telling me that at no time in her long life did her mother ever have a devoted female friend.
Read on here.