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Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho (Between Men--Between Women)

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Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho (Between Men--Between Women) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Book News Annotation:

Focuses on the active female gaze in the ancient Greek poetry to show how female experiences and desires were primary and not secondary to dominant male culture. Close readings demonstrate how Sappho's lyrics emphasize women's emotional lives with one another and female erotic desire for other females. An appendix contains the original Greek of the translated poems and fragments.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Sappho of Lesbos lived and wrote poetry some twenty-six centuries ago, but hers remains a persistent and effective voice for the expression of a woman's desire for a woman. Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho is the first book to examine Sappho's poetry through the lens of lesbian desire, focusing on the active female gaze in the texts and the narrative voice - one that describes female experience and desires as primary, not secondary to the dominant (male) culture. Snyder reads Sappho's songs against a woman-centered framework in which emotional and/or erotic bonds between and among women take center stage. Her close readings demonstrate the ways in which Sappho's lyrics focus on women's emotional lives with one another and on female erotic desire for other females. In Sappho's poetic world, male figures, when they do appear, stand on the periphery. In order to make Sappho accessible to everyone, Snyder presents detailed readings of the one complete existing song and of each of the major fragments of her poetry. She provides a clear English translation and a transliteration into our alphabet; the original Greek text is included in an appendix. Rather than making claims about the specific social contexts out of which the poems may have arisen, Snyder offers a close analysis of the words themselves, with comparative material drawn from other archaic Greek poets where there appear to be appropriate parallels. The book concludes with a chapter addressing Sappho's influence on a number of modern American woman poets, particularly Amy Lowell, H.D., and Olga Broumas. Snyder sees in these three poets qualities similar to Sappho's: a strong sense of self-definition; a display of independencewithin a poetic tradition; a relishing of the erotic and the sensual; and an emphasis on the mutuality of desire; and a blurring of the gaze that disrupts the hierarchy of subject versus object.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [239]-248) and index.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780231099943
Author:
Snyder, Jane McIntosh
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Author:
Snyder, Jane McIntosh
Location:
New York :
Subject:
History & Criticism *
Subject:
Poetry
Subject:
Ancient and Classical
Subject:
History and criticism
Subject:
Lesbians in literature
Subject:
Women and literature
Subject:
Gay & Lesbian
Subject:
Sappho
Subject:
Desire in literature
Subject:
Love poetry, Greek.
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Series:
Between Men--Between Women
Series Volume:
TN-246
Publication Date:
19970331
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.50x6.38x.97 in. 1.20 lbs.

Related Subjects

Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho (Between Men--Between Women) New Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Columbia University Press - English 9780231099943 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Sappho of Lesbos lived and wrote poetry some twenty-six centuries ago, but hers remains a persistent and effective voice for the expression of a woman's desire for a woman. Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho is the first book to examine Sappho's poetry through the lens of lesbian desire, focusing on the active female gaze in the texts and the narrative voice - one that describes female experience and desires as primary, not secondary to the dominant (male) culture. Snyder reads Sappho's songs against a woman-centered framework in which emotional and/or erotic bonds between and among women take center stage. Her close readings demonstrate the ways in which Sappho's lyrics focus on women's emotional lives with one another and on female erotic desire for other females. In Sappho's poetic world, male figures, when they do appear, stand on the periphery. In order to make Sappho accessible to everyone, Snyder presents detailed readings of the one complete existing song and of each of the major fragments of her poetry. She provides a clear English translation and a transliteration into our alphabet; the original Greek text is included in an appendix. Rather than making claims about the specific social contexts out of which the poems may have arisen, Snyder offers a close analysis of the words themselves, with comparative material drawn from other archaic Greek poets where there appear to be appropriate parallels. The book concludes with a chapter addressing Sappho's influence on a number of modern American woman poets, particularly Amy Lowell, H.D., and Olga Broumas. Snyder sees in these three poets qualities similar to Sappho's: a strong sense of self-definition; a display of independencewithin a poetic tradition; a relishing of the erotic and the sensual; and an emphasis on the mutuality of desire; and a blurring of the gaze that disrupts the hierarchy of subject versus object.
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