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Mark's Musing, June 2021

The Nine Muses, Goddesses of Inspiration of Literature, Science, and the Arts

I remember the joyous times that I had with the Greek family of some of the girlfriends of my youth. They were fantastic times which I will always remember. It turns out that I dated a couple of these girls who came from a family of nine daughters. Their parents were Jove and Meme. These were the names that they told me to call them. The father Jove, chose to use his Roman name rather than his Greek name. And their mother, Meme, told me that I wouldn't be able to remember nor pronounce her real name so I should just call her that.

Anyhow, this family was so incredible that once I discovered them, they played a very important part in my entire life. My introduction to this family started when I met the eldest daughter, Calliope, in church. She had such a beautiful voice and was gifted with words and was very eloquent as well. She introduced me to a couple of her sisters who attended church with her, Euterpe and Polyhymnia.

Euterpe played the flute and was very talented in all kinds of music and songs. She was such an absolute delight to listen to that I determined to try to get to know her better. Her sister, Polyhymnia, was equally rapturous and enthralled me with her storytelling. She was also an expert pianist, could play virtually any hymn, and was equally talented at mathematics.

Euterpe took me home to meet her family and other sisters. Her three sisters Thalia, Melpomene, and Terpsichore introduced me to live theatre and we enjoyed many plays of comedy, tragedy and dance. Thalia was very exuberant, but Melpomene was often melancholy.

Her other three sisters were rather private, but as I was also interested in philosophy, astronomy, and poetry, each of them intrigued me in her own way. Urania was heavenly and my life-long interactions with her have led me to study astronomy and astrology. Clio was usually alone, but always had a book with her and loved to study history. It is from her that I gained my life-long love of books, history and truth. Erato was truly lovely, and wrote such wonderful poetry. I wasn't sure which sister I wanted to pursue, Erato or Euterpe. They must have been twins.

Often, they would have their cousins, Apollo and Dionysus, over. Apollo, whom we called Paul, would train the girls in music and the Arts. Dionysus, who went by the name Dennis, was often there as well, not to teach anything but just to party and have a good time. He was rather wild and enjoyed drinking, partying, and singing to the music. Later, I would go to rock music concerts with him and the girls.

Once we went to Alexandria where there was a school of the arts. It was called a MUSEUM; the etymology of that word from the Latin word "Musa" or Greek word "Mousa." There we saw many MOSAICS, another type of art form. But the events that I recall which were the most special were the Music Festivals in Athens, called MOUSAI. There were many types of AMUSEMENTS at these festivals, games, plays, and MUSIC contests! Of course, there was the drinking and revelry too. These festivals lasted a whole week so there was time enough to enjoy everything.

Though I learned much from each of the sisters, and still cherish a friendship with each one to this day, it was Euterpe who enthralled me. She waltzed into my life. She was humble, beautiful, cultured, and exotic. She introduced me to classical music and filled my world with her latest creations. She was talent personified, which made me resolve then and there that I would never settle for anyone other than a creative lass such as she.

The nine Greek Muses were said to be the inspiration for literature, science, and the arts; particularly philosophy, music, mathematics, astronomy, and especially fine art and drama.


The nine Muses of Greek Mythology


The Muses- Greek Mythology


Muses: The 9 Inspirational Goddesses of Greek Mythology - Mythology Dictionary - See U in History




The Muses: Goddesses of the Arts


MF In-Depth #2: The Muses [Greek Mythology]


Mr. P's Mythopedia Presents: The Greek Muses (MOUSAI)!


The Great Dionysia - Ancient Greek Festivals


Athens Great Dionysia - a festival worth travelling through time for


Why Study the Tragic Festivals of Ancient Athens?


The Muses


D.J. Conway, "The Muses and Other Nines" Maiden, Mother, Crone (St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2001), pp. 115-17.

Upcoming events (4+)

February 2022 -- Women's Rights

Online event

We have repeatedly encountered this issue of a lack of women's rights in many of the Victorian books we have been reading. This inspired me to look at the issues in a more scholarly and comprehensive way by reading some of the historical and classic writings. The feminist movement is but a segment of this topic, so don't let the title of this book fool you. I have chosen it as our flagship book as it is an anthology of many essential works. I may add some other smaller works, and will also create an optional reading list as time permits.

Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings, Miriam Schneir

This essential volume brings together more than forty of the most important historical writings on feminism, covering 150 years of the struggle for women’s freedom. Spanning the American Revolution to the first decades of the twentieth century, these works—many long out of print or forgotten—are finally brought out of obscurity and into the light of contemporary analysis and criticism.

This richly diverse collection contains excerpts from books, essays, speeches, documents, and letters, as well as poetry, drama, and fiction by major feminist writers, including: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, George Sand, Mary Wollstonecraft, Abigail Adams, Emma Goldman, Friedrich Engels, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, John Stuart Mill, Margaret Sanger, Virginia Woolf, and many others.

The pieces in Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings cover the crucial challenges faced by women, including marriage as an instrument of oppression; a woman's desire to control her own body; the economic independence of women; and the search for selfhood, and extensive commentaries by the editor help the reader see the historical context of each selection. [Amazon.ca]

Review: Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings

This book is available online and also as a free ebook at:

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

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This classic about the effects of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath on a bourgeois family was not published in the Soviet Union until 1987. One of the results of its publication in the West was Pasternak's complete rejection by Soviet authorities; when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 he was compelled to decline it. The book quickly became an international best-seller.

Dr. Yury Zhivago, Pasternak's alter ego, is a poet, philosopher, and physician whose life is disrupted by the war and by his love for Lara, the wife of a revolutionary. His artistic nature makes him vulnerable to the brutality and harshness of the Bolsheviks. The poems he writes constitute some of the most beautiful writing featured in the novel.

April 2022 - Metamorphosis by Ovid

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The Metamorphoses (Latin: Metamorphōsēs, from Ancient Greek: μεταμορφώσεις: "Transformations") is an 8 AD Latin narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid, considered his magnum opus. Comprising 11,995 lines, 15 books and over 250 myths, the poem chronicles the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythico-historical framework.

Although meeting the criteria for an epic, the poem defies simple genre classification by its use of varying themes and tones. Ovid took inspiration from the genre of metamorphosis poetry, and some of the Metamorphoses derives from earlier treatment of the same myths; however, he diverged significantly from all of his models.

One of the most influential works in Western culture, the Metamorphoses has inspired such authors as Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Geoffrey Chaucer, and William Shakespeare. Numerous episodes from the poem have been depicted in acclaimed works of sculpture, painting, and music. Although interest in Ovid faded after the Renaissance, there was a resurgence of attention to his work towards the end of the 20th century. Today the Metamorphoses continues to inspire and be retold through various media. Numerous English translations of the work have been made, the first by William Caxton in 1480.

Barometer Rising -- May 2022

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Early Canadian Classics (Pre-WW2)

Barometer Rising (1941) by Hugh MacLennan

Halifax during World War I is the setting for 'Barometer Rising,' considered by many to be Hugh MacLennan's finest novel. The search by a young soldier for the only man who can clear him of a court-martial conviction for dereliction of duty, a tender love story, and a bitter father-son conflict are the main themes in this powerful novel which rises to its climax during the appalling Halifax explosion of 1917. [Book cover]

Past events (31)

January 2022 - The Time Machine

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