Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Muses

In Greek Myth, the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (memory); goddesses of Song and inspirers of the arts. They comprise Calliope (the leader, and muse of epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (Love poetry), Euterpe (Music and lyric verse), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia or Polymnia (sacred or sublime verse), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy) and Urania (astronomy). Fantasy rarely invokes them, though Terry Pratchett's Discworld has eight Muses of its own, led by "Cantaloupe". Max Beerbohm ironically uses Clio as a Plot Device in Zuleika Dobson (1911), granting Beerbohm as "historian" the Talent normally reserved for novelists, of reading characters' inner thoughts. Terpsichore features in the movie Down to Earth (1947), the follow-up to Here Comes Mr Jordan (1941). John Fowles's Fabulation Mantissa (1982) incarnates Erato as muse of the modern novel for a violently funny male-female confrontation featuring much Sex in its Allegory of novelistic inspiration. Sex is also the mainspring of Neil Gaiman's "Calliope" in Dream Country (graph coll 1991), whose Antihero writer holds Calliope in Bondage and acquires inspiration by repeatedly raping her. [DRL]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.