International Journal of the Classical Tradition

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 266–272 | Cite as

Fragments, brackets, and poetics: On Anne Carson'sIf not, winter

Anne Carson (trans.),If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (New York: Vintage Books, 2002) XIII + 397 pp.
  • Dimitrios Yatromanolakis
Review Article


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  1. 1.
    Appearing at almost the same time is the translation of Stanley Lombardo,Sappho: Poems and Fragments (Indianapolis/Cambridge 2002), with an introduction by Pamela Gordon. This Hackett edition offers a much less literal translation and no facing ancient Greek text, although Lombardo's renderings are interesting and provocative. Among the numerous recent English translations is Robert Chandler'sSappho (London 1998), with an introduction by Richard Jenkyns.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    On fragment 22 V., see D. Yatromanolakis, “When Two Fragments Meet: Sapph. fr. 22 V.”,Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 128 (1999): 23–24. As a consequence, critical editions—and literary studies—since 1925 that have followed Lobel, print—and interpret—fragment 22, that is, the two separate fragments probably coming from different poems, in a somewhat misleading way.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    “[P.Oxy.] 1231. Sappho, Book i”, in:The Oxyrhynchus Papyri X, London 1914, 28–29 (fr. 12), 30–31 (fr. 15), and 42–43 (notes).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    \(\sum \alpha \pi \phi o\hat \upsilon \varsigma \mu \mathop {\text{}}\limits^ \lambda \eta \):The Fragments of the Lyrical Poems of Sappho, edited by Edgar Lobel, Oxford 1925, p. 9, fragment\(\overline \alpha 11\).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Anthologia Lyrica Graeca, vol. 1, edidit Ernestus Diehl, Leipzig 1925; second ed. 1936.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wilamowitz's supplement αἰ δ]ὲ μή is mentioned by Diehl in his apparatus criticus. Note that Diehl's 1925 edition is dedicated “Udalrico de Wilamowitz-Moellendorff-sacrum”.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Edgar Lobel and Denys Page (Poetarum lesbiorum Fragmenta, Oxford 1955) print \(\delta \left] { \in \mu \eta ',\chi \in \iota '\mu \omega \nu } \right[\) (without mentioning Wilamowitz's conjecture in their apparatus criticus). In her critical edition (Sappho et Alcaeus, Amsterdam 1971), Eva-Maria Voigt also prefers δ]\(\delta \left] { \in ` \mu \eta ', \chi \in \iota '\mu \omega \nu } \right[,\) and in her apparatus criticus comments:"\(\alpha \iota , \left. \delta \right] \in `\); Wil. ap. Hunt, sed brevius esse vid. Hunt”. It is interesting to note that, although Carson prints Voigt's\(\delta \left] { \in ' \mu \eta ', \chi \in \iota '\mu \omega \nu } \right[\), she translates: “if not, winter” (pp. 40–41).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Pseudo-Plutarch,De musica 16. 1136c:Open image in new window (“The Mixolydian is an emotional harmonia, appropriate for tragedies. Aristoxenos says that Sappho invented the Mixolydian, and that the tragic poets learned it from her”).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    D. Yatromanolakis, Open image in new window,Synkrise/Comparaison 13 (2002): 60–72. See, further, D. Yatromanolakis, “Ancient Poetry as Modernist Bricolage”, in: E. Karamalengou (ed.),Festschrift in honour of John-Theophanes Papademetriou, Stuttgart (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    D. Yatromanolakis, “Toward an Archaeology of Sounds”, lecture delivered at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., December 2001.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Carson, p. X of her introduction.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    The former pubished in:Common Knowledge 8. 1 (2002): 188–203, the latter in: Y. Prins and M. Schreiber (eds.),Dwelling in Possibility: Women Poets and Critics on Poetry, Ithaca, NY 1997, 223–228.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Studies of the modern reception of Sappho are numerous. Among the most interesting are the following: for the reception of Sappho in Fance between 1546 and 1937, see J. DeJean,Fictions of Sappho 1546–1937, Chicago 1989: her “Epilogue” looks beyond 1937 and briefly considers samples of English scholarship, mainly Page'sSappho and Alceaus: An Introduction to the Study of Ancient Lesbian Poetry, Oxford 1955; for the reception in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, England, and the United States, see the early studies of D. M. Robinson,Sappho and her Influence, Boston 1924 and H. Rüdiger,Sappho. Ihr Ruf und Ruhm bei der Nachwelt, Leipzig 1933; more recently, E. Marks, “Lesbian Intertextuality”, in: G. Stambolian and E. Marks (eds.),Homosexualities and French Literature: Cultural Contexts/Critical Texts, Ithaca, NY 1978, 353–377; J. Stein,The Iconography of Sappho, 1775–1875, Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania 1981; F. Rigolot, “Louise Labé et la rédécouverte de Sappho”,Nouvelle revue du seizième siècle 1 (1983): 19–31; S. Gubar, “Sapphistries”,Signs 10 (1984): 43–62; L. Lipking, “Sappho Descending: Abandonment through the ages”, in:Abandoned Women and Poetic Tradition, Chicago 1988, 57–96; P. Tomory. “The fortunes of Sappho: 1770–1850”, in: G. W. Clarke (ed.),Rediscovering Hellenism: The Hellenic Inheritance and the English Imagination, Cambridge 1989, 121–135; S. Fornaro, “Immagini di Saffo”, in: F. De Martino (ed.),Rose di Pieria, Bari 1991, 139–161; J. M. Snyder,Sappho, New York 1995, 101–123; P. Blank, “Comparing Sappho to Philaenis: John Donne's ‘Homopoetics’”,Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 110 (1995): 358–368; G. W. Most, “Reflecting Sappho”,Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 40 (1995): 15–38; J. M. Snyder,Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho, New York 1997, 123–159; E. Greene (ed.),Re-Reading Sappho: Reception and Transmission, Berkeley 1996 (essays by J. DeJean and others); Y. Prins,Victorian Sappho, Princeton, NJ 1999; J. Dehler,Fragments of Desire: Sapphic Fictions in works by H.D., Judy Grahn, and Monique Wittig, European university studies. Series XIV, Anglo-Saxon language and literature 356 (=Euroäische Hochschulschriften reihe XIV, Angelsächsische Sprache und Literature 356), Frankfurt am Main 1999; D. Collecott,H.D. and Sapphic Modernism 1910–1950, Cambridge 1999; M. Reynolds,The Sappho Companion, London 2000; H. Andreadis,Sappho in Early Modern England: Female Same-Sex Literary Erotics 1550–1714, Chicago 2001 M. Reynolds,Fragments of an Elegy: Tennyson Reading Sappho, Tennyson Society Occasional Paper: No. 11, Lincoln 2001; C. Écarnot,L'écriture de Monique Wittig: À la couleur de Sappho, Paris 2002; M. Reynolds,The Sappho History, Basingstoke, Hampshire 2003. For collections of French and English poems translating, rewriting, or pertaining to Sappho, see P. Brunet,L' Égal des dieux: Cent versions d' un poème de Sappho, Paris 1998 and P. Jay and C. Lewis,Sappho through English Poetry, London 1996. Reception studies have become a rich and most promising area in the fields of Classics and Comparative literature. Lorna Hardwick'sReception Studies, Greece and rome. New surveys in the classics 33 (Oxford 2003) is a recent survey (cf. Thomas G. Rosenmeyer's review below in this issue,IJCT, 11 [2004–2005], 316–319). For the reception of ancient monuments, see, among many recent studies, mary Beard,The Parthenon, London 2002, with Alexia Petsalis-Diomidis' review in theJournal of Hellenic Studies 123 (2003): 192–194.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Carson, p. XI.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    On this poem, see the brief article by W. Seelbach, “Ezra Pound und Sappho fr. 95 L.-P.”, in G.W. Bowersock et al. (eds.),Arktouros: Hellenic Studies presented to Bernard M. W. Knox, Berlin 1979, 83–84.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    C.P. Cavafis, \(\prod o\iota \eta '\mu \alpha \tau \alpha \), ed G. Savvides, Athens 1963. The translation is by Rae Dalven (The Complete Poems of Cavafy, expanded ed., with an introduction by W.H. Auden, New York 1976). For a pioneering study of this poem and the poetics of C.P. Cavafis, see P. Roilos's forthcoming bookC.P. Cavafis and the Architecture of Memory.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    “Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers”, in:Charles Baudelaire, “Tableaux parisiens”: Deutsche Übertragung mit einem Vorwort über die Aufgabe des Übersetzers, von Walter Benjamin, Heidelberg 1923, 77=Walter Benjamin,Gesammelte Schriften IV. 1, ed. Tillman Rexroth [Frankfurt am Main 1972], 14); excerpt and translation quoted in Carson, p. XII.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    For the problems that the line presents, see (concisely) Voigt's apparatus criticus.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Carson translates: “(Aphrodite) of the spangled mind” and refers to the diverse meanings ofpoikilos (357).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    The reading is also attested in Choeroboscus quoted in Heph. 14, p. 249, 14; 250, 6; 251, 4 Consbruch (cod. U).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Carson here refers to\(o\mathop \iota \limits^, \nu o\chi o' \in \iota \sigma \alpha \) adopted from Voigt's edition. However, this is a participle, not an imperative, as Carson implies in her discussion (possibly influenced by οἰνοχόαισον printed by Lobel/Page [Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta, above, n. 7], Oxford 1955), translated and discussed by Page in hisSappho and Alcaeus [Oxford 1955: 39], and adopted and translated by Campbell [Greek Lyric I, below, n. 23]).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    For a different methodological approach, see D. Yatromanolakis and P. Roilos,Towards a Ritual Poetics, Athens 2003, 43–59.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    M. Barnard,Sappho: A New Translation, Berkeley 1958; D.A. Campbell,Greek Lyric I, Cambridge, Mass. 1982.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dimitrios Yatromanolakis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ClassicsJohns Hopkins UniversityUSA

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