Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sappho

Coming soon: Sappho's poetry!! Bring your lit. books to class the period after the art test Monday. We'll read aloud.

Think about this: why have Women's Studies Departments at universities latched on to Sappho?

28 comments:

Aaron Nussdorf said...

maybe because she was a "woman-ahead-of-her-time." she was literary genius and she was a woman that was wildly read and scknowledged. let's face the truth: women were second class citizens [not saying that's right] but that was just the way things were. so, i feel that changing language to make it more "fair" is noncencial and, possibly, reverse sexist (?). a key feature of the english language is its genderless verbage. [i think that spelling humanism as humynism to make it "truely" genderless is nonscensical]

stephen gieger said...

Women's Studies Departments have discussed the works of Sappho, becase she represents a presence of thought and reason by a woman in ancient Greece where women were basically viewed as a burden rather than capable of the intellegent thought of a man.

Ehren said...

Yes, I think Sappho was very progressive for her time period. She represented an issue that would really only become a hot topic many years later. Also, maybe there is something to be said for her boldness concerning her love for other women in a time where women were seen as "second class citizens."

puddlewonderful said...

I think Sappho serves as an idol to many feminists; despite the adversity of her time, and the clear bias Greek society had against women, she managed to become a prominent and well-known poet. It is worth mentioning that while, yes, she has been "rediscovered" by modern feminists, Sappho in her time was well-known, so well-known that, as I said, Catullus wrote a sort of loose, artistic Latin translation of the second poem in our book. Her works are equal to those of any of the men of her time period (perhaps they are even more sensitive and feeling because of her femininity). She is a figure worth admiring-- her womanhood only makes her more remarkable.

tmichals said...

Sappho definitely inspired readers, not only women, in her ability to overcome adversity. And how do we know that her strong passion for women was not normal at the time?

Stephen said...

I think it is very interesting that a woman like Sappho was held in high esteem for her descriptive poetry about a woman's sensual feelings when the comedy, Lysistrata, was probably seen as ironic in the sense that women were exerting any kind of authoriy or intelligent behavior in the face of other men.

joel derby said...

well, I believe that she is a wonderful poet, but what evidence do we have to show that she was respected in her time, you keep saying that she was a model for all Greek women because of her fame, ut I think its more likely that she did no really reveal her true identity. Many female writers pretended to be men so that their works could gain publicity.

It seems to me like a case of imposing modern thoughts on something from the past which just doesn't work, like when we tried to make Euripides into a feminist because of Medea.

joel derby said...

I think that Women's studies departments choose Sappho because she shows that even in times of female oppression, there were free-thinking and intelligent women, even id they were unable to be famous

Stephen said...

I think that Sappho certainly either wrote or had a hand in writing the poems that we have read in class. The passiveness and description of sensual feelings strongly suggests that a woman wrote the works. The metaphors to battle and glory were most likely an appeal to the masculine subjects that poems of the time eluded to, so that her work would be accepted by the masses even if she went under another name.

Caroline said...

I might have missed something, but was there ever any doubt about the identity of the author? I thought the question was who is the narrator...

bballinsupasta said...

i think that joel makes a good point. if she really was as progressive and influential as we make her out to be, she prob would have been banished or killed by leaders similar to those who killed socrates

bballinsupasta said...

oh and she prob wouldn't have been able to find a husband

ndepass said...

like we said in class, i think that many people who read sappho today spend to much time worrying about wether or not she preferred men or women. I do not think that is an important in deciding if her poetry is good or not.

ndepass said...

Also, i do not think she is recognized solely because she is a women, some people say her poetry is simple, but the people of her time obviously thought differently of her poetry and i don't see how one can say her poetry just isn't good.

stephen gieger said...

I think what Nick said about Sappho's sexual preferences is certainly true, however, it is important to consider her identity as it relates to her work. Sappho had to create her own ideas while keeping with the social norm of the time, so that her work could be appreciated. Her sexual tastes are not important, but the identity that she writes with is important.

Caroline said...

I also don't think knowing her sexual preference is imperative to understanding or enjoying her poetry, but even though her poetry is good, I dont think she would be studied today if she wasn't a woman.

tmichals said...

Like Stephen said, it is important to know her sex in this situation because it is the primary reason for her popularity today. However, Sappho's sexual preference is irrelevant to studying her poetry. I feel that it takes away the beauty and substance of the poem when all we focus on is her sexual preference.

joel derby said...

well, i believe the question of her sexual preference is intriguing because it helps us to learn about her a a person and the world she grew up in.

Dean Elazab said...

Her sexual preference does reflect her poetry, like everything in her life. so it does help us understand her context.

Aaron Nussdorf said...

i dont think her sexuality has little effect on her works: virginia woolfe was a lesbian and her works are considered some of the greatest. what happens in your bed, is your business, no one else's.

Ehren said...

While I don't think her sexual orientation defines her work, I do think it can provide context for her poety, almost in way that someone's time period and nationality can.

ndepass said...

i find it funny that people, generally assume these things about her sexual preference, when she lived so long ago and their is no concrete proof, i think it is unfair to make assumptions about which sex she prefered. That was thier culture to live in a place of all women and even today they have all women's schools and all men's schools and that means nothing.

El Paco said...

I'm pretty sure the fact that she wrote love poetry about women is a dead give away, Nick

bballinsupasta said...

i agree with nick. the truth is we really don't know which sex she preferred. her poetry is still pretty. if i read it as though it were anonymous, i would still think it's pretty, but most people wouldn't bother to read it if they didn't know sappho had written it

Anonymous said...

she was totally a lesbian

Manal said...

I think Sappho is so important today and studied because of the lack of availability of other feminine works from that time period. I don't think the greeks were proud of her and appreciated her as much as we do, however, if there were other options and more works from that era written by women then Sappho might not have been so famous.

Manal said...

I don't want to sound rude or say that Sappho's not a good writer, becasue she is and some of her works were great. But, they seem very girly and lovey dovey.
About her sexual preferences, I too, think that its not important rather just an interesting twist that adds to her work. I guess her love life was private, but if she did have a preference for women, then culturally she was out of luck anyway because only men could love other men right.
i could be wrong.

Margaret said...

Maybe she wasn't really a lesbian but was living out her lesbonic fantasies through her poetry? There's really no way to tell. I'm inclined to agree with Caroline though. If she wasn't a women during that time period, I don't think we'd be talking about her. I found her poetry to be sweet and poignant, but it seems that most of the hubbub about her nowadays is centered on the fact that she was a woman writing poetry in a male-dominated world.