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POEMS AND FRAGMENTS

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Overview

Little remains today of the writings of the archaic Greek poet Sappho (fl. late 7th and early 6th centuries B.C.E.), whose work is said to have filled nine papyrus rolls in the great library at Alexandria some 500 years after her death. The surviving texts consist of a lamentably small and fragmented body of lyric poetry--among them, poems of invocation, desire, spite, celebration, resignation, and remembrance--that nevertheless enables us to hear the living voice of the poet ...

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Overview

Little remains today of the writings of the archaic Greek poet Sappho (fl. late 7th and early 6th centuries B.C.E.), whose work is said to have filled nine papyrus rolls in the great library at Alexandria some 500 years after her death. The surviving texts consist of a lamentably small and fragmented body of lyric poetry--among them, poems of invocation, desire, spite, celebration, resignation, and remembrance--that nevertheless enables us to hear the living voice of the poet Plato called the tenth Muse.

Stanley Lombardo's translations give us a virtuoso embodiment of Sappho's voice, whose telltale charm, authority, immediacy, directness, intensity, and sudden changes of tone are among the hallmarks of his masterly translation.

Pamela Gordon introduces us to the world of Sappho, discusses questions surrounding the transmission of her manuscripts, offers advice on reading these texts, and concludes with an enlightening discussion of same-sex desire in Sappho.

The most celebrated lyric poet of the sixth century BCE, Sappho left behind two intact poems and nearly one hundred fragments, and the mystery surrounding her life has fascinated people for centuries. This unabridged miniature edition contains virtually all of Sappho's surviving poetry.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The four sections of this book [Introduction, Translator's Note, translations, Notes on Ancient Sources] work remarkably well together, presenting the fragments of Sappho according to 'the idea of the isolated message' (xvii). The dominant and characteristic interest shared by both Lombardo as translator and Gordon as introducer is their concerted effort to validate 'fragments as esthetic wholes' (xxvi). Lombardo's translations are pleasantly distinct from those of any other I am aware of both for their sonorous but straightforward rendering in modern spoken American English . . . [an edition] better both for its clear translations, and for the breadth and depth of the critical Introduction. Lombardo's strategy as translator is to convey not only the Greek by means of English, but also the experience of reading 'Sappho as a pure, received text' (xxvi) by means of direct, plain presentation of the poem . . . A unique and welcome contribution to the diversity of English translations available. --Travis Feldman, The Bryn Mawr Classical Review

I have long been an admirer of Stanley Lombardo's translations of Homer, and I was curious to see how he would adapt his fast-paced, lively style to Sappho. He has succeeded admirably. His translation of 73 poems of Sappho is clear, energetic, and close to the Greek. Pamela Gordon's Introduction gives a lucid and useful guide for the non-specialist to the last fifty years of scholarly debate on Sappho. This edition will be particularly useful for instructors of courses in translation seeking an introduction to Sappho for the Greekless student. It is also a pleasure to read. --Laurel Bowman, The Classical Bulletin

Gordon's Introduction is a clear summation of the poetic and scholarly aura surrounding the figure of Sappho and these literary fragments. . . . This essay, complete with selective bibliography at the end, could be assigned to undergraduates as a first introduction to both the poetry and the phenomenon of Sappho. . . . Lombardo's translations are lively and accessible; Sappho lives anew for the English reader. . . . Ideal for teaching at the undergraduate level. --Cashman Kerr Prince, New England Classical Journal

Booknews
All that survives of Sappho of Lesbos (c.7th- 6th century B.C.E.) is one full poem and scattered remnants (73 in all). This book collects them and adds an introduction by Susan Gordon. Some Sapphian fragments: "and for you I make an offering of a white goat"; "For me neither honey nor the honey bee"; "I do not know what to do; I am of two minds"; "Do I still put on virginity?"; "in my dripping pain/may aching winds carry off my enemy." Bibliographical notes on ancient sources of Sappho's work end the volume. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872205918
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 68
  • Sales rank: 978,725
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanley Lombardo is Professor of Classics, University of Kansas. His previous translations include Hesiod's Works & Days and Theogony (1993), and Homer's Iliad (1997) and Odyssey (2000), all published by Hackett.

Pamela Gordon is Associate Professor of Classics, University of Kansas.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2003

    Sappho

    Sir or Madam, Could you tell me if proffessor Stanley Lombardo is still alive. I would like for him to view my poetry..from the spirit of Sappho...Please forward my E-Mail address to him....

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