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Manuscripts and Special Collections

By the medieval period, Sappho's works had been lost, though she was still known through later ancient authors such as Ovid. Her works began to become accessible again in the sixteenth century, first in early printed editions of authors who had quoted her. In Aldus Manutius printed an edition of Dionysius of Hallicarnassus, which contained Sappho 1, the "Ode to Aphrodite", and the first printed edition of Longinus' On the Sublime , complete with his quotation of Sappho 31, appeared in In , the French printer Robert Estienne produced an edition of the Greek lyric poets which contained around 40 fragments attributed to Sappho.

Like the ancients, modern critics have tended to consider Sappho's poetry "extraordinary". Housman in the twentieth, have been influenced by her poetry.

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Tennyson based poems including "Eleanore" and "Fatima" on Sappho's fragment 31, [] while three of Housman's works are adaptations of the Midnight poem , long thought to be by Sappho though the authorship is now disputed. It was not long after the rediscovery of Sappho that her sexuality once again became the focus of critical attention. In the early seventeenth century, John Donne wrote "Sapho to Philaenis", returning to the idea of Sappho as a hypersexual lover of women.

From the 19th century, Sappho began to be regarded as a role model for campaigners for women's rights, beginning with works such as Caroline Norton 's The Picture of Sappho. The discoveries of new poems by Sappho in and excited both scholarly and media attention. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Sappho disambiguation. Most of Sappho's poetry is preserved in manuscripts of other ancient writers or on papyrus fragments, but part of one poem survives on a potsherd. Sappho's sexuality has long been the subject of debate. Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema 's Sappho and Alcaeus above portrays her staring rapturously at her contemporary Alcaeus; images of a lesbian Sappho, such as Simeon Solomon 's painting of Sappho with Erinna below , were much less common in the nineteenth century.

The most commonly used numbering system is that of E. Voigt, which in most cases matches the older Lobel-Page system. The Suda says that she was active during the 42nd Olympiad, while Eusebius says that she was famous by the 45th Olympiad. West comments on the translation of this word, "'Loveliness' is an inadequate translation of habrosyne , but I have not found an adequate one. Sappho does not mean 'elegance' or 'luxury'". See n. The lyric age of Greece. Minerva Press. Barnstone, Willis ed. The Complete Poems of Sappho. Shambhala Publications. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list link Boehringer, Sandra In Hubbard, Thomas K.

A Companion to Greek and Roman Sexualities. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. The Newest Sappho: P. Obbink and P. GC inv. Leiden: Brill. Bolling, George Melville The American Journal of Philology. Burn, A. Generic Composition in Greek and Roman Poetry. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Campbell, D. Greek lyric poetry: a selection of early Greek lyric, elegiac and iambic poetry. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.

CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list link Clayman, Dee DeJean, Joan Fictions of Sappho: — Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Devereux, George The Nature of Sappho's Seizure in Fr. The Classical Quarterly. Sappho Is Burning. Freeman, Philip Gosetti-Murrayjohn, Angela Grafton, Anthony ; Most, Glenn W.

The Classical Tradition. Gubar, Susan Hallett, Judith P. Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica.

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Hutchinson, G. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Johannides, P. Journal of Homosexuality. Kurke, Leslie V. In Shapiro, H. The Cambridge Companion to Archaic Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In Bremmer, Jan ed. London: Routledge. Classical Philology. Lidov, Joel McClure, Laura K. The New Yorker. Retrieved 17 June Most, Glenn W.

Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies. Obbink, Dirk Transactions of the American Philological Association. Page, D. Sappho and Alcaeus. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Payne, Tom 30 January The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 July Peterson, Linda H. Reynolds, Margaret, ed.


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The Sappho Companion. London: Vintage. Richter, Gisela M. The Portraits of the Greeks. London: Phaidon Press. Rose, H. A Handbook of Greek Literature. New York: E. Sanford, Eva Matthews The Classical Journal. Schlesier, Renate Retrieved 27 April What does it mean to be able to ask what does it mean to be? I think I'm inherently fascinated by that kind of basically philosophical question, although I find philosophy very difficult to read and am very poor at reading it.

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Where I've made use of them I hope I've paid my debt to them, and I hope at the same time that what I've done with them has become my own. They have simply been catalytic agents, not so much for what I've thought, but more for how I've felt. Berghash: In a good number of your later poems you talk about the meaning of nothing. You say that it is "an acute presence of absence," as against the "raw beauty of being.

Booth: It does seem to me that ego can become part of a kind of universal ego. I am tempted to extend this and say that such integration strengthens the so-to-speak ego of the whole. It is much more an intuitive sense that I have. I think it's Masefield who says in a poem, maybe it's in "Dauber," "The days that make us happy make us wise. And its name is joy. Booth: I don't think that one can search for joy, or buy joy, or take out a map and draw a straight line toward joy.

I think that there is a great deal of serendipity involved. It often happens when one least expects it. Not necessarily when one least expects it, but not necessarily when one is looking for it. A poem of mine called " How to See Deer " says that if you go out looking for deer you do not see deer. In his story "The Bear" Faulkner uses that point when he writes about the young boy going out into deep woods in the deep South trying to search for an almost mythical bear.

But he doesn't see the bear until he casts away his gun and puts away his compass. I saw a deer last night not half a mile from where we are sitting now in your house. It might have come down from the reservoir at the top of the peninsula and run over your lawn for all I know; but for me the deer was a joy to which one could make oneself available as one makes oneself available to the possibility of a poem.

If you think about nothing but boats, or if you think about nothing but houses, or if you think about nothing but in a man's case women, or in a woman's case perhaps men, it's pretty hard to arrive at the kind of joy that you imagine you are searching for. Berghash: I had a teacher, Dr. McLean, a psychiatrist and philosopher, who said that the aim of life is to live and die without regret, and that living and dying with joy is one kind of regret-free living and dying. It seems to me that joy is hard to attain.

Booth: Yes it does seem so to me. I think that there is a sense where each of us may have a certain background—yours may be Old Testament and mine may be New England Puritan, but I think they are conjoined very deeply beyond any such distinction—which tends us toward a view of life that is perhaps similar. But I think we are talking about tapping into our roots—quite beyond any particular psychoanalytic theory. Even as Jung believed there was a universal unconscious, not merely a subconscious, to which we would all be open if we could. Berghash: I think that there is a distinction between joy and happiness.


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One of the ways to feel joy is to transcend circumstances. Booth: I come literally from families that were basically Puritan on both sides, my father's and my mother's. I was brought up in rather strict Victorian conventions to the extent that I was in many ways inhibited early on in ways that I tried to work out, as many boys do, through sports, and so on.

But that doesn't mean for me, in these poems or in any art, not telling fictions, because I think that the fictions can be truer than true. The images are not fictionalized in the sense that I merely transpose purple to green or uncle to aunt. The fictions of poetry are at their best, as Wallace Stevens very well knew, acts of imagination, and they come from a much deeper source then merely transposing one fact from another in order to avoid a libel suit.

Are the losses that need to be retrieved in life or in art, or in both? Booth: I'd like to correct your question. You said "that need to be retrieved," and although the poem is full of infinitives there isn't one in that particular place. My slight yearning is to feel that whatever is to be retrieved has some life of its own that wants to be retrieved; that the word, like the part that is being searched for in the boatyard, almost wants at a certain point to make itself available to the poet, if he is only open enough to let it come at him. That's only answering a very small part of your question, because I do mean that losses must be to a certain extent forgotten if one is to move beyond them.

But I think that nothing is ever totally forgotten. We only push some things deeper than others, and they too may present themselves, or we may be able to retrieve them when we need them. Booth: Yes. What that route is depends on the wrong turn the line originally took. Berghash: And I am thinking in terms of an interpersonal relationship where we have damaged someone and we are making reparation.

Booth: Yes, of course. It can sometimes be merely a matter of good manners, or it can be of large social morality. I have to think of it on both a larger and smaller scale of life and of art. Berghash: I am talking about genuine making reparation that would be creative. In physiology it would be the process in which a broken bone is healed. Booth: I understand. The word reparation isn't very much in my vocabulary.

Obviously for some damages there can be no reparation. Berghash: Right. Where the thing is dead. In that case one can make vicarious reparation, in a relationship or in art perhaps. Correct me if I am wrong: you might write a bad poem and you can't do anything about it. And the next thing you do is write a good poem. Booth: But I don't think that happens consciously, the way one can be conscious about the injustice one has done to someone else, and consciously try to do something about it.

If I write a poem that I soon feel is bad, I don't go out on a damage control mission to write a next poem in order to repair the first. I have to think otherwise about it. I have to try to forget the bad for good. And, in a different sense, try to make good on what comes next. Reprinted with permission of the Estate of Philip E.

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Materials for Teachers Materials for Teachers Home. Poems for Kids. Poems for Teens. Lesson Plans. Teach this Poem. Poetry Near You. Academy of American Poets. National Poetry Month. American Poets Magazine. Chances of Survival: Philip Booth in Conversation. Berghash: Is reading him also helpful in practical terms? Berghash: Do you see art as instructive? Berghash: Socrates didn't travel at all; he stayed in Athens all his life. Booth: We're talking pretty big names now.

Berghash: Is there an evolution in your view in regard to the place? Berghash: Could you talk about the reason behind entitling your book Relations? Berghash: Is joy something you attain easily or with difficulty? Booth: And to be continually happy is impossible. Berghash: I think of retrieving in the sense of restoring or making reparation.

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