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Sappho speaks

Mary Beard, 11 October 1990

The Woman and the Lyre: Women Writers in Classical Greece and Rome 
by Jane McIntoshSnyder.
Bristol Classical Press, 199 pp., £25, May 1989, 1 85399 062 0
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The Constraints of Desire: The Anthropology of Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece 
by J.J. Winkler.
Routledge, 240 pp., £30, February 1990, 0 415 90122 7
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Greek Virginity 
by Giulia Sissa, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Harvard, 240 pp., $29.95, March 1990, 0 674 36320 5
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... to ridicule these attempts to deny the central place of (lesbian) sexuality in Sappho’s poetry. Jane Snyder, in The Woman and the Lyre, runs through the main strands of traditional Sappho criticism, pointing out the anachronistic absurdity that underlies most of these reconstructions of her social background and literary context. The tough, warring ...

Always the Bridesmaid

Terry Castle: Sappho, 30 September 1999

Victorian Sappho 
by Yopie Prins.
Princeton, 278 pp., £40, May 1999, 0 691 05918 7
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... off a cliff, perhaps as punishment for nameless (homosexual?) debaucheries. Still others, such as Jane McIntoshSnyder, suggest that the Phaon myth may have arisen from an ancient exegetical slip; for given the obvious mythological and metaphoric implications of the story, it is likely that if Sappho ever did refer in ...

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