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The Laughter of Aphrodite: A Novel about Sappho of Lesbos
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The Laughter of Aphrodite: A Novel about Sappho of Lesbos

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  40 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Best-selling classicist Peter Green recreates the life and times of the Greek lyric poet Sappho in this beautifully conceived, sharply detailed work of historical imagination. We meet Sappho at the age of fifty, when she is shaken by her fatal and final love affair with Phaon. She narrates her own story from the vantage point of self-questioning middle age, and her candid ...more
Paperback, 274 pages
Published December 28th 1995 by University of California Press (first published September 1965)
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Jon
May 21, 2011 Jon rated it liked it
First published in 1965 this pretends to be an autobiography by the 7th century BCE Greek lyric poet Sappho, who lived on the island of Lesbos and indirectly contributed to the modern term lesbian. Very little is known about the real Sappho. Only one complete poem survives, along with many fragments ranging from a few tens of lines to isolated partial words. There are a few references about her from antiquity, most from several hundred years after her death. Everything else is conjecture. Peter ...more
Rozonda
Oct 28, 2014 Rozonda rated it it was amazing
I was deeply impressed by this book. I really love Sappho's poetry- the few fragments of her work that survive are so powerful that they're worth the whole works of other poets. But we know so little about her life, beyond the myths, legends and stories that posterity has built about her.

In spite of this, Green succeeds in writing a credible,beautiful and rich novel: before committing suicide, Sappho looks back on her life, her lovers and her passion for poetry. The complexities of love and sex
...more
Elizabeth Smith
Aug 21, 2013 Elizabeth Smith rated it it was amazing
He's a genius, Peter Green. I love his non-fiction but this is a real novel. Exquisite descriptions and a deep understanding of the ancient world. My favorite book of the year so far.
Matt
Apr 26, 2014 Matt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Fantastic book--fantastical historical novel that rises well into the literary realm. Up in my top 20 of all time, I think. Peter Green is a Classical History professor, but the best kind, for this book was written by flesh and blood, by someone who understands desire and disappointment, idealism and urgency; that is, "The Laughter of Aphrodite" was written by a person who could combine with consummate art knowledge of the past with awareness of the eternal in humanity.

I've read this novel half
...more
Jane
Dec 13, 2014 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sappho is a woman in the ancient world I wanted to learn a little something about. This novel was surprisingly enthralling and educational.

The middle-aged Sappho is in the midst of an affair with a boatman, Phaon. He hasn't come to meet her for several days and she is concerned. Her brother, Charaxas, the merchant, comes to see her. Scandalized by her "vulgar lust", [differences in class, differences in age], he has made sure the lover has shipped out on one of Charaxas's own merchant vessels,
...more
Devon
Oct 16, 2014 Devon rated it it was ok
Quite a chore to get through. Sappho comes across as a person wholly clueless about herself. It seemed almost every statement or observation she made ended in a question mark. Her love affairs are very shallowly treated. One never knows just what she loves in anyone. The best thing about the book is its physical descriptions of people, places, and things, but even these became tedious and even, perhaps, formulaic after a while. I couldn't wait to get it over with. Myopic, repetitious, boring.
Stephen
The Laughter of Aphrodite moved me when I first read it in my late teens over 40 years ago - at intervals scenes from it have recurred to my mind's eye, and it's exciting to come across it again.
Yuilia
Jan 14, 2015 Yuilia rated it liked it
Містиний, тягучий роман про життя поетеси Сапфо.
Łukasz
Oct 28, 2015 Łukasz rated it liked it
sensual and suggestive, agile in back-and-forward time excursions: simply a neat ancient narrative even though it could have been better developed in the terms of the plot...
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There is more than one author by this name in the database. This is Peter^Green.

Peter Morris Green (born 22 December 1924) is a British classical scholar noted for his works on the Greco-Persian Wars, Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age of ancient history, generally regarded as spanning the era from the death of Alexander in 323 BC up to either the date of the Battle of Actium or the death
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