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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 69

How can a knowledge of musical construction help the reader to understand the form of Sappho’s poems?

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In what senses was Sappho a “lesbian”?

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Barring future discoveries concerning her work, why will it remain difficult to judge Sappho as a poet?

William Wordsworth wrote of poetry as “emotion recollected in tranquillity.” Is there evidence that Sappho had a similar view?

What poets have been particularly influenced by Sappho?

Bibliography

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 443

Further Reading:

Bowra, C. Maurice. Greek Lyric Poetry: From Alcman to Simonides. 2d ed. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1961. A classic review of seven Greek lyric poets stressing their historical development and critiquing important works. Offers groundbreaking theories of the poets as a group and as individual writers. Views Sappho as the leader of a society of girls that excluded men and worshipped the Muses and Aphrodite.

Burnett, Anne Pippin. Three Archaic Poets: Archilochus, Alcaeus, Sappho. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1983. Rejects theories of ancient Greek lyrics as either passionate outpourings or occasional verse. Describes Sappho’s aristocratic circle and critiques six major poems.

DuBois, Page. Sappho Is Burning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. The title is taken from part of David A. Campbell’s translation of Sappho’s fragment 48, in which the poet’s “heart” is “burning with desire.” DuBois assumes and examines an aesthetics of fragmentation and veers to a strained “postmodern” appreciation of the poet.

Greene, Ellen, ed. Reading Sappho and Re-reading Sappho. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996. A two-volume collection of essays and articles (by writers such as Mary Lefkowitz, Holt N. Parker, and Jack Winkler) important in elucidation of Sappho’s poetry.

Jenkyns, Richard. Three Classical Poets: Sappho, Catullus, and Juvenal. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982. Stresses the relativistic view that no one theory can elucidate ancient poetry. Detailed analysis of Sappho’s principal poems and fragments, concluding that she is a major poet.

Prins, Yopie. Victorian Sappho. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999. Superb study of the presentations of Sappho in nineteenth century English literature. Exposes the imperfections of editions by Dr. Henry Wharton and “Michael Field” (pseudonym of Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper). Cogent chapter on Sappho and Swinburne in “Swinburne’s Sapphic Sublime.”

Rayor, Diane. Sappho’s Lyre: Archaic Lyric and Women Poets of Ancient Greece. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991. In most respects, this is the best available translation of Sappho. Includes fragments of nine women poets besides Sappho, along with poems and fragments of seven male lyric poets.

Reynolds, Margaret, ed. The Sappho Companion. New York: Palgrave, 2001. Analogy contains narratives of the way societies in different times have accepted or rejected Sappho’s works. Includes an introduction as well as translations of the fragments of the poems, a bibliography, and an index.

Sappho. If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho. Translated by Anne Carson. New York: Knopf, 2002. Presents all of Sappho’s fragments in English accompanied by the Greek text.

Snyder, Jane MacIntosh. The Woman and the Lyre: Women Writers in Classical Greece and Rome. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989. Informative introduction to Sappho and eight female lyric poets of classical antiquity, with representative translations.

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