Sappho: A New Translation of the Complete Works

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Jul 14, 2014 - History - 173 pages
Sappho, the earliest and most famous Greek woman poet, sang her songs around 600 BCE on the island of Lesbos. Of the little that survives from the approximately nine papyrus scrolls collected in antiquity, all is translated here: substantial poems, fragments, single words - and, notably, five stanzas of a poem that came to light in 2014. Also included are new additions to five fragments from the latest discovery, and a nearly complete poem published in 2004. The power of Sappho's poetry - her direct style, rich imagery, and passion - is apparent even in these remnants. Diane Rayor's translations of Greek poetry are graceful and poetic, modern in diction yet faithful to the originals. The full range of Sappho's voice is heard in these poems about desire, friendship, rivalry, family, and "passion for the light of life". In the introduction and notes, internationally respected Sappho scholar André Lardinois presents plausible reconstructions of Sappho's life and work, the importance of the recent discoveries in understanding the performance of her songs, and the story of how these fragments survived.
 

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User Review  - CandaceVan - LibraryThing

The tragic thing about Sappho is that we have so little of her, beyond her amazing reputation in the ancient world. This edition does include an almost-complete poem discovered in 2005 (its parchment ... Read full review

Contents

From Sappho to Sappho
19
Notes
97
Appendix
155

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2014)

Sappho, whom Plato (see Vols. 3 and 4) called "the tenth Muse," was the greatest of the early Greek lyric poets. She was born at Mytilene on Lesbos and was a member---perhaps the head---of a group of women who honored the Muses and Aphrodite. Her family was aristocratic; it is said that she was married and had a daughter. Her brilliant love lyrics, marriage songs, and hymns to the gods are written in Aeolic dialect in many meters, one of which is named for her---the Sapphic. Mostly fragments survive of the nine books she is thought to have authored. Her verse is simple and direct, exquisitely passionate and vivid. Catullus, Ovid, and Swinburne (see Vol. 1) were among the many later poets she influenced.

Diane Rayor is Professor of Classics at Grand Valley State University. In 2011, she received the university's most prestigious faculty award, the Glenn A. Niemeyer Outstanding Faculty Award for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. In 2010, Colorado College awarded Rayor the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. Rayor has published five book translations of ancient Greek poetry and drama: Euripides' 'Medea': A New Translation (Cambridge University Press, 2013); Sophocles' 'Antigone': A New Translation (Cambridge University Press, 2011); Homeric Hymns: A Translation, with Introduction and Notes (2004); Sappho's Lyre: Archaic Lyric and Women Poets of Ancient Greece (1991); and Callimachus (with S. Lombardo, 1988). She is coeditor of Latin Lyric and Elegaic Poetry (1995). Her translations appear in numerous anthologies, including Greek Poets: Homer to the Present (2009), which contains sixteen of her translations.

Diane Rayor is Professor of Classics at Grand Valley State University. In 2011, she received the university's most prestigious faculty award, the Glenn A. Niemeyer Outstanding Faculty Award for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. In 2010, Colorado College awarded Rayor the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. Rayor has published five book translations of ancient Greek poetry and drama: Euripides' 'Medea': A New Translation (Cambridge University Press, 2013); Sophocles' 'Antigone': A New Translation (Cambridge University Press, 2011); Homeric Hymns: A Translation, with Introduction and Notes (2004); Sappho's Lyre: Archaic Lyric and Women Poets of Ancient Greece (1991); and Callimachus (with S. Lombardo, 1988). She is coeditor of Latin Lyric and Elegaic Poetry (1995). Her translations appear in numerous anthologies, including Greek Poets: Homer to the Present (2009), which contains sixteen of her translations.

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