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Top 10 Sappho Books


(c 610-570 BC) Greek writer. Sappho's works comes down to us in fragments, even though she was one of the greatest and most famous poets in world literature. Read more about the life and works of Sappho.

1. Sappho Is Burning

by Page Duboia. University of Chicago Press. From the publisher: "Sappho Is Burning offers a new reading of this archaic lesbian poet that acknowledges the poet's distance and difference from us and stresses Sappho's inassimilability into our narratives about the Greeks, literary history, philosophy, the history of sexuality, the psychoanalytic subject."
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2. The Sappho Companion

by Margaret Reynolds. Palgrave. From the publisher: "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."
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3. Reading Sappho: Contemporary Approaches

by Sappho, Ellen Greene (Editor). University of California Press. From the publisher: "In this volume, scholarship on Sappho moves beyond a limiting focus on textual reconstruction or analysis of her possible biography to study her as a powerful and influential voice in the Western cultural tradition. Many of the essays presented here mark a turning point in Sappho scholarship, an efflorescence of literary and contextual criticism in which scholars read Sappho's poetry..."
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4. Sappho's Leap

by Erica Jong. Norton. From the publisher: "Sappho's Leap is a journey back 2,600 years to inhabit the mind of the greatest love poet the world has ever known. At the age of fourteen, Sappho is seduced by the beautiful poet Alcacus, plots with him to overthrow the dictator of the island, and is caught and married off to a repellent older man in hopes that matrimony will keep her out of trouble..."
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5. The Sappho History

by Margaret Reynolds. Palgrave. From the publisher: "In The Sappho History, Margaret Reynolds traces the story of the reception of Sappho's poetry and her afterlife in literature and art from the mid 18th century to the present day. For women writers in the Romantic period, she symbolized possibility; for the young Tennyson, she was a private ancestor helping him make his own name as a poet."
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6. Reading Sappho: Contemporary Approaches

by Ellen Greene (Editor). University of California Press. From the Publisher: "A legendary literary figure, Sappho has attracted readers, critics, and biographers ever since she composed poems on the island of Lesbos at the close of the seventh century B.C. Bringing together some of the best recent criticism on the subject, this volume, together with Re-Reading Sappho, represents the first anthology of Sappho scholarship..."
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7. The Laughter of Aphrodite

by Peter Green. University of California Press. From the publisher: "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 meditations make intimate, engrossing reading."
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8. If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho

by Sappho, and Anne Carson. Knopf. Anne Carson writes, "Biographical sources mention a mother, a father, a daughter, a husband, and three brothers of Sappho. She appears to have devoted her life to composing songs; scholars collected them in nine books, of which the first book alone had 1320 lines. Most of this is lost."
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9. Sappho: A New Translation

by Sappho, Mary Barnard. University of California Press. From the publisher: "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."

10. Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho

by Jane McIntosh Snyder. Columbia University Press. From the publisher: "This is the first book to examine Sappho's poetry through the lens of lesbian desire. Snyder provides close readings of the surviving examples of Sappho's poetry, occasionally presenting comparative material from other ancient Greek poets. The original Greek text is included in an appendix."
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