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The Muses (Clio, Euterpe, Melpomene, Thalia, Erato, Terpischore, Polyhymnia, Urania, Calliope)
- Inspired: Hesiod
- Work: Theogony (c. 700 bc)
- Nature of Relationship: The muses appeared to Hesiod while he was tending his lambs, giving him a laurel staff and imbuing him with a poet’s voice.
- “We start then, with the Muses, who delight / With song the mighty mind of father Zeus / Within Olympus, telling of things that are, / That will be, and that were, with voices joined / In harmony.” (Lines 39–43)
- Inspired: Dante Alighieri
- Work: The Divine Comedy (1321)
- Nature of Relationship: Dante first saw Beatrice in 1274, when they were both nine. They met infrequently, before Beatrice married someone else in 1287 and died three years later.
- “It is you who, on no matter what the path, / have drawn me forth from servitude to freedom / by every means that you had in your power.” (Paradiso Canto XXXI)
- Inspired: John Milton
- Work: Paradise Lost (1667)
- Nature of Relationship: During composition, Milton believed he was inspired in the same way that the biblical writers were.
- “Celestial light / Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers / Irradiate: there plant eyes, all mist from thence / Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell / Of things invisible to mortal sight.” (Book III, lines 51–55)
- Inspired: Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- Work: Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850)
- Nature of Relationship: In 1845 Robert wrote to Elizabeth, praising her poetry, and the two soon fell in love. She wrote the sonnets during the twenty-one-month courtship with Robert.
- “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” (Sonnet XLIII)
Fernande Olivier, Olga Khokhlova, Marie-Thérèse Walter, Dora Maar, Françoise Gilot, Geneviève Laporte, and Jacqueline Roque
- Inspired: Pablo Picasso
- Works: Woman with Pears (1909) and La Femme-Fleur (1946), among others
- Nature of Relationship: His affairs with women were often tempestuous; he enjoyed when his mistresses fought over him.
- “There are only two types of women: goddesses and doormats.”
- Inspired: George Harrison, Eric Clapton
- Works: “Something” (1969), “Layla” (1970), “Wonderful Tonight” (1977)
- Nature of Relationship: Clapton wrote “Layla” as a plea for Boyd to divorce Harrison and marry him instead, which she did in 1979; Harrison and Clapton remained friends.
- “Let’s make the best of the situation / Before I finally go insane. / Please don’t say we’ll never find a way / And tell me all my love’s in vain.” (“Layla”)
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