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Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Greek poet Sappho, one of antiquity's greatest exponents of lyric poetry.

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.


Edith Hall
Professor of Classics at King's College, London

Margaret Reynolds
Professor of English at Queen Mary, University of London


Dirk Obbink
Professor of Papyrology and Greek Literature at the University of Oxford
Fellow and tutor at Christ Church, Oxford

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

46 minutes

Last on

Thu 9 Apr 2015 21:30


Edith Hall at King's College London

Margaret Reynolds at Queen Mary, University of London

Dirk Obbink at the University of Oxford

New poems by Sappho - TLS

Girl, Interrupted: Who was Sappho? - The New Yorker

Hearing Sappho - The New Yorker

Reception of Greek Literature 300 BC-AD 800: Traditions of the Fragment

Sappho - Wikipedia



Benjamin Acosta-Hughes, Arion’s Lyre: Archaic Lyric into Hellenistic Poetry (Princeton University Press, 2010)

Josephine Balmer, Sappho: Poems and Fragments (Bloodaxe Books, 1992)

David A. Campbell (ed.), Greek Lyric: Sappho and Alcaeus (Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, 1989)

Anne Carson, ‘If Not, Winter’: Fragments of Sappho (Virago, 2003)

Franco Ferrari, Sappho’s Gift: The Poet and Her Community (Michigan Classical Press, 2009)

Ellen Greene (ed.), Reading Sappho: Contemporary Approaches (University of California Press, 1998)

Ellen Greene (ed.), Re-reading Sappho: Reception and Transmission (University of California Press, 1998)

Ellen Greene and Marilyn Skinner (eds.), The New Sappho on Old Age: Textual and Philosophical Issues (Center for Hellenic Studies, 2010)

G. O. Hutchinson, Greek Lyric Poetry: A Commentary on Selected Larger Pieces (Oxford University Press, 2001)

Denys Page, Sappho and Alcaeus: An Introduction to the Study of Ancient Lesbian Poetry (First published 1955; Oxford University Press, 1990)

Margaret Reynolds, The Sappho Companion (Chatto and Windus, 2000)

Margaret Reynolds, The Sappho History (Palgrave, 2003)

Oliver Taplin (ed.), Literature in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A New Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2000)

Eva-Maria Voigt (ed.), Sappho et Alcaeus: Fragmenta (Polak and Van Gennep, 1971)

M. L. West, Greek Lyric Poetry: A New Translation (Oxford Paperbacks, 2008)

Margaret Williamson, Sappho’s Immortal Daughters (Harvard University Press, 1998)

John J. Winkler, The Constraints of Desire: The Anthropology of Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece (Routledge, 1989)



Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Edith Hall
Interviewed Guest Margaret Reynolds
Interviewed Guest Dirk Obbink
Producer Simon Tillotson


  • Thu 9 Apr 2015 09:00
  • Thu 9 Apr 2015 21:30

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