Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The Poetess of Lesbos
(to be released summer of '08)
sans apology, sans censure.
In this superb page-turner reminiscent of the great Mary Renault, Peggy Ullman Bell brings to life one of the most exciting and fascinating figures of the Ancient World - Sappho, "The Poetess." A woman who surpassed the conventions of her time.
Excerpted from The Life of Greece by Will Durant
(Simon & Schuster, N.Y., 1939)
“Sappho was a marvelous woman," said Strabo...
"Psappha, as she called herself in her soft Aeolian dialect, was born at Eresus, on Lesbos, ...Pittacus, fearing her maturing pen, banished her...
"After five years of exile she returned to Lesbos and became a leader of the island's society and intellect ... Eager for an active life, she opened a school for young women, to whom she taught poetry, music, and dancing; it was the first 'finishing school' in history....
"Her verse was collected into nine books, of some twelve-hundred lines, six-hundred survive, seldom continuous."
A new Sappho poem
21 June 2005
From these fragmented lines, Ms. Bell has created a novel rich in the textures of ancient Greece, yet modern as tomorrow's fashions.
Bell has incorporated the fragmentary words and phrases still available into the novel in a way that makes them vanish into the fabric of the story like golden threads woven into an intricate tapestry so delicately that it becomes impossible to distinguish the imported threads from the weaver's own.
Readers familiar with the myriad of translations may recognize a word here or a phrase there but, as one expert in antiquities discovered, the author has herself become the voice of The Poetess to the extent that invented passages seem like newly discovered wonders from the past.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
SAPPHO SINGS, my fictionalized biography of The Poetess of Lesbos, is in its final stage of editing and should be ready for presentation to the publisher within the month.
SAPPHO SINGS is based upon and built around the existing fragments of Sappho's work.