Standard Name: Sappho
Birth Name: Sappho
Used Form: Sapho
Sappho , the female poet who stands at the head of the lyric tradition in Europe, has been a major figure of identification, of desire, of influence, of adulation, and of opprobrium in British women's writing, though little remains of her texts. All of her estimated 12,000 lines of verse has been lost except a handful of complete poems and many fragments, either quotations of her work by other writers, or scraps deciphered from papyri used to wrap mummies in ancient Egypt. This mutilated body of work amounts to somewhere around seven hundred intelligible lines.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Characters Sydney Owenson, Lady Morgan
In the society that Morgan depicts, the Irish Catholic gentry are mostly absent, scattered in European exile. The peasantry, dirt-poor but generous-hearted, include Tim O'Leary, schoolmaster of a hedge school, scholar and expert in Irish...
Cultural formation L. E. L.
There are indications, however, that a rather suspect class standing contributed along with somewhat bohemian behaviour to the difficulty she had about weathering scandal. Benjamin Disraeli famously and snobbishly wrote of a party at the
Cultural formation Anne Damer
Soon after her husband's death, obscene libels (bearing a political subtext) began to appear against AD . William Combe led the way in a couplet satire, The First of April; or, The Triumphs of Folly...
death Anna Wickham
Although AW 's suicide came with little warning, she showed, in an unfinished autobiography written more than ten years earlier, a portentous awareness of a tradition of suicide among women poets: There have been few...
death Eva Gore-Booth
She and Esther Roper are buried in a single grave in a Hampstead churchyard: the grave is marked with a Celtic cross
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray et al., editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
and an epitaph quoting Sappho : Life that is Love is God.
Donoghue, Emma. “’How could I fear and hold thee by the hand?’: The Poetry of Eva Gore-Booth”. Sex, Nation, and Dissent in Irish Writing, edited by Éibhear Walshe and Éibhear Walshe, St Martin’s Press, pp. 16-42.
Education Anne Carson
AC successfully defended her PhD dissertation on the poetry of Sappho . Titled Odi et Amo Ergo Sum (I hate and love, therefore I am), it eventually became first book project, Eros the...
Education Anne Carson
When she was in highschool AC 's brother, four years older, liked her to do his homework for him.
Carson, Anne. Nox. New Directions.
Apart from her fascination with Wilde , AC fell in love while at Port Hope High School
Education Tillie Olsen
At home the Lerner children learned Yiddish songs and made up silly plays.
Reid, Panthea. Tillie Olsen: One Woman, Many Riddles. Rutgers University Press.
Tillie was a difficult child, skipping family chores to spend time at the public library, with its huge painting of...
Education Alison Uttley
At Manchester, AU lived in the women's residence, Ashburne House. Formative teachers in her life included Hilda Oakeley
Oakeley, a Somerville College graduate and a close friend of Eleanor Rathbone , had a great impact...
Family and Intimate relationships Natalie Clifford Barney
At sixteen, NCB fell in love with Eva Palmer , a biscuit heiress whose family vacationed with hers in Bar Harbor, Maine. Eva introduced NCB to Sappho 's poetry and instigated her lifelong appreciation for Greek culture.
Chalon, Jean. Portrait of a Seductress: The World of Natalie Barney. Translator Barko, Carol, Crown.
Benstock, Shari. Women of the Left Bank: Paris, 1900-1940. University of Texas Press.
Fictionalization Violet Fane
In 1877 Fane's Sincere Friend
Mallock, W. H. The New Republic. Scribner and Welford.
W. H. Mallock dedicated his roman à clef The New Republic; or, Culture, Faith, and Philosophy in an English Country House to her .
Mallock, W. H. Memoirs of Life and Literature. Chapman and Hall.
She is said to...
Health Dora Carrington
Carrington attempted to give herself a miscarriage by riding a horse violently, and when this did not work she became depressed to a nearly suicidal degree.
Gerzina, Gretchen. Carrington: A Life of Dora Carrington, 1893-1932. John Murray.
She had mused to Gerald Brenan in 1920...
Intertextuality and Influence Adrienne Rich
The title poem comes last. Many of the pieces here, like the volume overall, are dedicated to individuals. They include dialogues between the present and the past or future, between personal life and the enormities...
Intertextuality and Influence Michael Field
The preface calls Sappho the one woman who has dared to speak unfalteringly of the fearful mastery of love.
Field, Michael. Long Ago. G. Bell and Sons.
Each of the poems that follow begins with an epigraph from Sappho
Titles are numbers, given...
Intertextuality and Influence Adrienne Rich
First published in 1971 (Rich's collections often include writings issued previously), the essay When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision is described in 1988 by Elizabeth Meese as still inform[ing] much of the best work...


Later 8th century BC: This time probably saw the genesis of Homer's...

Writing climate item

Later 8th century BC

This time probably saw the genesis of Homer's Iliad, though few dates are more hotly argued over, and the very existence of Homer as a person who created (traditional, formulaic, oral) epicpoems is arguable.

1555: French poet Louise Labé (c. 1520-1566), a...

Writing climate item


French poetLouise Labé (c. 1520-1566), a salonnière in the city of Lyons, daughter and wife of rope-makers, published her Oeuvres at Lyons.

1691: William Walsh published anonymously A Dialogue...

Writing climate item


William Walsh published anonymously A Dialogue Concerning Women, Being a Defence of the Sex, Written to Eugenia.

1764: German labouring-class poet Anna Luise Karsch...

Writing climate item


German labouring-class poet Anna Luise Karsch first reached print with four separate publications at Berlin, most importantly a collection, Auserlesene Gedichte (edited for publication by J. G. Sulzer ).

1886: Eva Hope's Queens of Literature of the Victorian...

Women writers item


Eva Hope 's Queens of Literature of the Victorian Era singled out Mary Somerville , Harriet Martineau , Elizabeth Barrett Browning , Charlotte Brontë , George Eliot , and Felicia Hemans .

1968: Peter Jay founded Anvil Press Poetry, which...

Writing climate item


Peter Jay founded Anvil Press Poetry , which by the early twenty-first century was based in Greenwich in south-east London, and described itself as England's longest-standing independent poetry publisher.

April 1972: Sappho began monthly publication in London...

Building item

April 1972

Sappho began monthly publication in London as one of the few magazines written for and about lesbians.

November 1981: The lesbian magazineSappho ended publication...

Building item

November 1981

The lesbianmagazineSappho ended publication in London.

1992: The city of Leiden in the Netherlands initiated...

Writing climate item


The city of Leiden in the Netherlands initiated its Tegen-Beeld , or Wall Poems, by painting on a wall a poem by Marina Tsvetajeva or Tsvetaeva: the design is important as well as the words.

April 2016: A bot, or Twitter account programmed to issue...

Writing climate item

April 2016

A bot, or Twitter account programmed to issue a piece of writing divided into fragments of 140 characters or less, entitled Sappho @sapphobot, was launched this month and became Twitter's most popular poetry bot (apart from...


Burn, Andrew R., and Sappho. “Foreword”. Lyrics in the Original Greek, translated by. Willis Barnstone and Willis Barnstone, New York University Press, 1965, p. vii - xiii.
Burn, Andrew R. et al. “Introduction”. Lyrics in the Original Greek, translated by. Willis Barnstone, New York University Press, 1965, p. xvii - xxxi.
Sappho, and Anacreon. Les Poésies d’Anacréon et de Sapho. Translator Dacier, Anne, D. Thierry and C. Barbin, 1681.
Sappho, and Andrew R. Burn. Lyrics in the Original Greek. Translator Barnstone, Willis, New York University Press, 1965.