Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Greek poet Sappho. Born in the late seventh century BC, Sappho spent much of her life on the island of Lesbos. In antiquity she was famed as one of the greatest lyric poets, but owing to a series of accidents the bulk of her work was lost to posterity. The fragments that do survive, however, give a tantalising glimpse of a unique voice of Greek literature. Her work has lived on in other languages, too, translated by such major poets as Ovid, Christina Rossetti and Baudelaire.

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  • Edith Hall 19 episodes
    Professor of Classics at King's College, London
  • Margaret Reynolds 2 episodes
    Professor of English at Queen Mary, University of London
  • Dirk Obbink No other episodes
    Professor of Papyrology and Greek Literature at the University of Oxford Fellow and tutor at Christ Church, Oxford

Reading list

  • Arion's Lyre: Archaic Lyric into Hellenistic Poetry
    Benjamin Acosta-Hughes (Princeton University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • Sappho: Poems and Fragments
    Josephine Balmer (Bloodaxe Books, 1992)
  • Greek Lyric: Sappho and Alcaeus
    David A. Campbell (ed.) (Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, 1989) Google Books →
  • 'If Not, Winter': Fragments of Sappho
    Anne Carson (Virago, 2003)
  • Sappho's Gift: The Poet and Her Community
    Franco Ferrari (Michigan Classical Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • Reading Sappho: Contemporary Approaches
    Ellen Greene (ed.) (University of California Press, 1998) Google Books →
  • Re-reading Sappho: Reception and Transmission
    Ellen Greene (ed.) (University of California Press, 1998) Google Books →
  • The New Sappho on Old Age: Textual and Philosophical Issues
    Ellen Greene and Marilyn Skinner (eds.) (Center for Hellenic Studies, 2010) Google Books →
  • Greek Lyric Poetry: A Commentary on Selected Larger Pieces
    G. O. Hutchinson (Oxford University Press, 2001) Google Books →
  • Sappho and Alcaeus: An Introduction to the Study of Ancient Lesbian Poetry
    Denys Page (Oxford University Press, 1990) Google Books →
  • The Sappho Companion
    Margaret Reynolds (Chatto and Windus, 2000) Google Books →
  • The Sappho History
    Margaret Reynolds (Palgrave, 2003) Google Books →
  • Literature in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A New Perspective
    Oliver Taplin (ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2000) Google Books →
  • Sappho et Alcaeus: Fragmenta
    Eva-Maria Voigt (ed.) (Polak and Van Gennep, 1971) Google Books →
  • Greek Lyric Poetry: A New Translation
    M. L. West (Oxford Paperbacks, 2008) Google Books →
  • Sappho's Immortal Daughters
    Margaret Williamson (Harvard University Press, 1998) Google Books →
  • The Constraints of Desire: The Anthropology of Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece
    John J. Winkler (Routledge, 1989) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 880 (Hellenic literatures and classical Greek literature)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In antiquity, the Greek lyric poet Sappho was known as the Tenth Muse or as Sappho the Wise.