By Gregory Nagy

A sweet bird for the songs of Sappho

2020.12.04 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In the title of this essay, the wording ‘sweet bird’ echoes what we hear in part of a poem by John Milton, Il Penseroso (1645/1646), later set to music by George Frideric Handel (1740), whose librettist merged Milton’s poem with the symmetrical L’Allegro (1645). So, Milton’s poetry became for Handel an extended song blending the mirth of L’Allegro with the melancholy of Il Penseroso.… Read more

Thinking of further desiderata while tracing the reception of Sappho in the ancient world

2020.11.27 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Following up on my previous essay in Classical Inquiries (Nagy 2020.11.20), I offer here some further thoughts about desiderata that occur to me as I proceed in making plans to write up, as a self-standing monograph to be published by Classical Inquiries both online and as a printed “pamphlet,” the results—to date—of my attempts at tracing the reception of Sappho in the ancient world.… Read more

Some narrowings and some widenings of perspectives for viewing the reception of Sappho in the ancient world

2020.11.13 | By Gregory Nagy §0. For an illustration that is most relevant to what I have to say in this essay, I show a line-drawing of a close-up from a vase painting by the Meidias Painter, whose artistic career, in Athens, can be dated to the late fifth century BCE. In this close-up, we see the picturing of a lady named Eurynoe (ΕΥΡΥΝΟΗ) who is playfully teasing a pet… Read more

On the reception of Sappho as a personal experience to be expressed in pictures: examples from two vase paintings produced in classical Athens, fifth century BCE

2020.11.06 | By Gregory Nagy §0. The two images that I show here in introducing this essay are line drawings of close-ups taken from two separate vase paintings created by an artist known to art historians as the Meidias Painter, whose career as a vase painter in Athens can be dated to the late fifth century BCE. In these close-ups, I focus on a single figure who is represented in… Read more

Looking for references to Sappho’s songs in Athenian vase paintings: preliminary comments

2020.10.30 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In this essay, I am not looking for references to the text of Sappho’s songs in Athenian vase paintings. Instead, I look merely for traces of pictorial references to the contents of these songs, especially as performed in the city-state of Athens during the classical period, in the fifth century BCE and beyond. In other words, I am looking for aspects of Sappho’s songs… Read more