Passionate Spirit: The Life of Alma Mahler

Gillian Moore at Literary Review:

The Gustav Mahler industry, in particular, is vicious in its representation of Alma as a self-serving narcissist who exaggerated her own role in the life of the great man, massaged the facts and was even, on account of her affair with Gropius, responsible for his death at the age of fifty. She was, the legend goes, an artistic gold-digger in whose eyes a man’s sexual attractiveness increased in proportion to his artistic ‘greatness’. But in this, as in so many other matters, Alma didn’t help: during a three-year affair with Oskar Kokoschka, which became darker and stranger as time went on, she told him that she would marry him only when he had created a masterpiece (she never did). And why at the end of her life, after marrying three well-known artists, did she revert to the name of the first? Was it because she reckoned that Mahler was the most important, the ‘greatest’ of the three?

Against this backdrop, it’s rather welcome, and unexpected, to read Cate Haste admit in the foreword of her new biography, ‘I like Alma’. 

more here.