Mry (eska_rina) wrote,

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book review: Margaret Reynolds: "The Sappho Companion"

Title: The Sappho Companion
Author: Margaret Reynolds
Genre: non-fiction, litterature
My rating: 3/5
# of pages: 391
Time it took to read: two days; started Friday, didn't read Saturday, finished Sunday.

Summary (my words): A book about Sappho, and about how people through time have viewed and used her, her poetry, her sexuality, her suicide, and other things. Includes copies of the her fragments, translations and interpretations of them, and texts that are about her and/or using the idea of her.

My thoughts: I've been a fan of Sapphro since I learned about her. I love poetry (and I'll probably post some translations/interpretations of them in the near future), but most of all I love the idea of her. A female poet in Ancient Greece writing love poems to both men and women? How can you not love the idea of her?

Well, I'm not alone in loving her, but not all have loved this idea of her. Reynolds' book goes through years and years of views and ideas of Sappho. To some she wasn't known for her poetry, but for being sexual* - she has been made into a prostetute, she has been involved in pornography -, she has been a feminist icon, her suicide has been used as an argument against female rights, she has been a schoolmistress for an all-girl school, she... etc. She has experienced so much prejudice and so much hope and so many many different views, and Reynolds gives us a good overview of them all.

But who is Sappho? Who is the historical Sappho, the person, who actually lived and made this music? Sadly, Raynolds doesn't really tell us anything about this. The ideas of Sappho isn't the historical Sappho, and while Reynolds does say in the start, that Sappho isn't so much a person (anymore), but a space, I do miss a chapter about the historical Sappho.

Another thing I missed in this book is why she has been viewed this way through time. She hasn't been viewed the different ways just because people felt like vieweing her like that. People have been affected by different movements and political ideas. The only one I remember her directly mentioning is feminism. Oh, and Imagenism (or whatev. it's called). But that's it. But the different views on especially her sexuality must have been influenced by whatever society people were living in, and society is inlfuenced by different movements.
I'm missing a bigger picture, I suppose.

Nonetheless, a really good book. With alot of translations and interpretations of her texts ♥ Totes worth reading.

*when you're a Michael Strunge-fan, you find it a bit difficult to find the sex in her poems.
Tags: project: book review

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