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Victorian Sappho

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  12 ratings  ·  2 reviews

What is Sappho, except a name? Although the Greek archaic lyrics attributed to Sappho of Lesbos survive only in fragments, she has been invoked for many centuries as the original woman poet, singing at the origins of a Western lyric tradition. "Victorian Sappho" traces the emergence of this idealized feminine figure through reconstructions of the Sapphic fragments in late-
Paperback, 296 pages
Published March 8th 1999 by Princeton University Press (first published 1999)
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I haven't gotten the actual book yet, but I loved Terry castle's review for LRB:

Perhaps the most embarrassing consequence of reading Victorian Sappho – Yopie Prins’s impressive account of how Victorian poets over the course of a century imagined, exploited and distorted the mysterious figure of Sappho – is being forced to confront one’s own mental images of the long-dead Greek poet. My own most cherished notions of her, I find, are at once detailed, puerile and unbending – a strange hodge-podge
While I only read a few chapters, what was needed to write a paper, I loved every minute of it.

Those not familiar with Sappho should know she is the first lesbian known to have written anything, mainly poetry.

The book is mostly academic based and not accessible outside that world I believe, but if you ever want to delve into its pages, I recommend it.
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