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Sappho: A New Translation

Tekijä: Sappho

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1,1561817,195 (3.96)19
These hundred poems and fragments constitute virtually all of Sappho that survives and effectively bring to life the woman whom the Greeks consider to be their greatest lyric poet. Mary Barnard's translations are lean, incisive, direct--the best ever published. She has rendered the beloved poet's verses, long the bane of translators, more authentically than anyone else in English.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 18) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
With his venom

Irresistible
and bittersweet

that loosener
of limbs, Love

reptile-like
strikes me down ( )
  yarb | Aug 2, 2023 |

You may forget but

let me tell you
this: someone in
some future time
will think of us

This really is the year of me learning the Greeks may have been onto something with this literature thing, huh? It's completely wrecked my y-axis on publication date stats, I can tell you that. So long, 19th-century accuracy:



I'm currently in the process of writing a research paper on the wonderfully obscure, decadent, belle époque lesbian poet Renée Vivien. My thesis is simple: how Vivien viewed her sexuality in analogous themes and styles to Sappho. Her poetry is arguably the most influential aspect of Vivien's poetry, inspiring her enough to learn Greek in order to translate it into French.

For most of my queer life though, even the word Sappho grated on my ears. I associated it something a bit too ridiculous for my attention span, something mocked at more than admired. I still think modern feminists love downplaying queer women's contribution to the movement they've practically taken from them, and I for one fell for it. "Not all feminists are bra-burning lesbians!", I'm still told, reminding me that this is still the image that permeates straight women's minds. My image of lesbianism was thus doomed to theirs; a scourge of non-feminine, angry, man-hating banshees.

I think the works of Sappho dismantle that. Her work is reserved while at the same time being passionate; it is as touching as it is somber; it shows men as objects capable of as much love and desire as women too. There is nothing ridiculous about her work. Take one of my favorite poems, one of the most complete of her fragments where she speaks of an old pupil who had gone away to another teacher:

It was you, Atthis, who said

"Sappho, if you will not get
up and let us look at you
I shall never love you again!

"Get up, unleash your suppleness,
lift off your Chian nightdress
and, like a lily leaning into

"a spring, bathe in the water.
Cleis is bringing your best
purple frock and the yellow

"tunic down from the clothes chest;
you will have a cloak thrown over
you and flowers crowning your hair...

"Praxinoa, my child, will you please
roast nuts for our breakfast? One
of the gods is being good to us:

"today we are going at last
into Mitylene, our favorite
city, with Sappho, loveliest

"of its women; she will walk
among us like a mother with
all her daughters around her

"when she comes home from exile..."

But you forget everything

There is something so sensory about the descriptions of their past life together I can't get over, the gut-punch at the end making it so much more real than I thought was possible for something 2600 years old. The human condition really is invariable from time.

I see why Renée Vivien took to the work of Sappho beyond the obvious. Sappho showed the passion, the heartbreak, and the beauty in the transmutation of these feelings to so many symbols. Vivien's life was painful and tragic, the ravages of mental illness taking away much of her potential. It ruined her relationships, it ruined her body, and it ruined her mind, but still she felt fervently for every capacity of living. Sappho speaks to that I think, and I'm sure Vivien finally found her muse.

I am not a lesbian, but I may be lucky enough to love a woman one day, and Sappho's poetry reminded me that the love between women is pure. So often satirized, sensationalized, and ridiculed, those years of microaggressions actually stopped me from reading this earlier, and I'm angry. Queer men have been able to reclaim the image of eroticism for hundreds of years — from the Hellenism of the 19th century to the exaltations of Wilde and Whitman — queer women have always had much less to work with. Still so often the object of men, Sappho writes about women for women, and it shows. Every lightness, every perfumed vision remains celebrated in the psyche of women who love women to this day. Sappho lived as we do: passionate, feeling, and real. I thank her. I can only hope to love as deeply as she once did. ( )
  Eavans | Feb 17, 2023 |
"Although I have
Only breath, words
which I command
are immortal" ( )
  Monj | Jan 7, 2022 |
Who is this poet? The lyrical nature of her poetry is evident at once, while the variety of thoughts resonate through the centuries. Can we get a glimpse of what life was like for this Greek woman from the fragments of her verse? Perhaps, we can get that glimpse and even more. I found the lines about lives lived under the sun and stars resonated with me and evoked memories of similar experiences in my own life. Hidden among the references to strange gods were words of wisdom, praise of virtue, and emotions as familiar as any experienced by those who have seen the beginning of a new century.

With only fragments of her verse she charms the reader and evokes human emotions from the realms of ancient Greece. The power and beauty of her poetry shines forth like pieces of broken glass that glisten in the light of the sun. The translation by Mary Barnard rings true as fresh metaphors line the pages. Read this poetry and be entranced by the wonder of her words. ( )
1 ääni jwhenderson | Jan 4, 2022 |
2016 (review can be found at the link - which is a LibraryThing page)
https://www.librarything.com/topic/226898#5759293
  dchaikin | Jun 21, 2020 |
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä (27 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Sapphoensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Barnard, MaryKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Fitts, DudleyEsipuhemuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Groden, Susy Q.Kääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Wilson, AdrianSuunnittelijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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These hundred poems and fragments constitute virtually all of Sappho that survives and effectively bring to life the woman whom the Greeks consider to be their greatest lyric poet. Mary Barnard's translations are lean, incisive, direct--the best ever published. She has rendered the beloved poet's verses, long the bane of translators, more authentically than anyone else in English.

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