The Sappho Companion by Margaret Reynolds

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Synopsis

Born around 630 BC on the Greek Island of Lesbos, Sappho is now regarded as the greatest lyrical poet of Greece. Her work survives only in fragments, yet her influence extends throughout Western literature, fuelled by the speculations and romances which have gathered around her name, her story, her sexuality. The Sappho Companion brings together many different kinds of work, ranging from blue-stocking appreciations to juicy fantasies. We see her image change, recreated in Ovid's poetry and Boccaccio's tales, in translations by Pope, Rossetti and Swinburne, Baudelaire, and H.D., in the modern versions of Eavan Boland, Carol Rumens, and Jeanette Winterson. Artists, too, have felt Sappho's power, and The Sappho Companion contains a rich variety of illustrations: classical statues and pre-Raphaelite paintings, Roman mosaics, and Romantic pornography.
 

About Margaret Reynolds

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Margaret Reynolds is a writer, teacher, critic, and broadcaster. Her 1992 edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh won the British Academy's Rose Mary Crawshay Prize.
 
Published January 4, 2000 by Chatto & Windus. 400 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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The Guardian

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As Richard Aldington said in his 1919 translation of Anacreon (an even more hedonistic ancient Greek poet whose name was often linked to Sappho's), the aim of previous versions seems to have been to prove that the Greeks wrote doggerel, but the very scantiness of material we have with Sappho allo...

Sep 29 2001 | Read Full Review of The Sappho Companion

Publishers Weekly

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Hailing from the island of Lesbos, which has subsequently lent its name in her honor to a good cause, the Greek poet Sappho, who lived in the 7th century B.C., has inspired centuries of admiration for her transcendent poems, which have only survived in fragments.

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