Maud Allan and Her Art

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By Felix Cherniavsky
What THEY said about Maud Allan: … “a musician”… “a dancer”… “an Isadora rip-off”… “a harlot”… “a lesbian”… “a femme fatale”… “a fake”.

She was all these and much more.

To know Maud Allan is to understand the frenetic energy and anxiety of the fin de siècle – the burning desire for freedom at any cost. Astute, fearless, articulate, persuasive, profoundly musical and a perfectionist, Maud Allan was, at the dawn of modernism, a woman who embodied the “spirit of the times”.

Her gentle art, performed to the music of Chopin, Mendelssohn and Rubinstein, and described in 1903 in the Illustriertes Wiener Extrablatt of Vienna as “musically impressionistic mood settings”, was overshadowed by the public clamour for the “naked” Salome Dancer.

She became “The Salome Dancer” in 1908 London, a “rock star” of Edwardian society, earning thousands of pounds a week at the Palace Theatre with sensational performances of her Vision of Salome. By 1909 she had become the butt of copyists, what the New York Times editorialized as “Salomania”. For the next two decades Maud Allan performed around the world – trying to shake-off the Salome Dancer image.

Cherniavsky has assembled selected excerpts from what was written about her – by reviewers, journalists, managers, friends, family, artists, and Maud Allan on Maud Allan. The text follows Allan’s life chronologically and is a virtual bibliography of sources.

About the Author
Felix Cherniavsky holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Alberta and is the author of The Salome Dancer: The Life and Times of Maud Allan (McClelland & Stewart, 1991). Cherniavsky is also the son of the late Mischel Cherniavsky who, with his brothers Leo and Jan, travelled extensively as the Cherniavsky Trio in the first half of the twentieth century. From 1914 to 1916, the Cherniavsky Trio joined Maud Allan to tour India, the Far East and Australia.


Softcover, 7.75" x 10.5",  178 pp.,  39 photographs and illustrations