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       Study Groups for Sappho’s Poems

Although the lyric poems of Sappho are short and sometimes fragmentary, i.e., portions may be missing, we nonetheless can find out much about the poet and her society by reading carefully.  For your discussion of selected poems please include the following, a clarification of which can help you and others in our class to appreciate the brilliance and depth of this literature.

I. Activities: Personal, Inter-personal, Religious
Who does what where to what purpose or effect?

II. Speech: Who says what to whom to what effect?

III. Imagery: What images help you locate and evaluate the situation described in the poems?  Clothing and adornments; Nature or animals; Gestures and Movements

IV. Grammar of Evaluation: Are women presented as subjects or objects of action?  Is the emphasis on hierarchies or mutuality?  Domination or Reciprocity?  Does persuasion aim at benefit for the speaker, the person to be persuaded, both?

V. Comparison and Contrast: To understand how Sappho works within but also transforms traditional stories and motifs compare her poems with those by the male epic and lyric poets.

VI. Supporting and Supplementing scholarship on Sappho:  To develop your understanding of how the poems might be interpreted refer to at least one scholar’s work on Sappho’s poems or feminist scholarship.  Use your own resources or the recommended books mentioned in the syllabus and the Women in Antiquity web page.  Check the index of the books, such as Reading Sappho for references to your poems.

VII. Provide Visuals for the class to follow along with your presentation:
Charts, Pictures, Power-Point?  Highlight what you find most important and what you wish to share with others to add to their understanding of your poems.

Student Groups

The numbers without parentheses are from the Snyder text or the handout.  The numbers in parentheses are the page numbers in Snyder
1. Gods: 2,5 (16-17), 102 (34), 149 and 245 (Handout I); 31 (18), 47 and 130 (27), 188 (28)

2. Values I: 16 (22), 56, 155, 156 (29); 98a (33); 55, 39,147 (34); 230 (Handout II)

3. Values II: 202, 198 (Handout I); 190-194, 201 (Handout II); 236,253,2441,244-252, 255, 256 to end (Handout III)

4. Women’s Activities: 94 (24-25), 154 and 160 (29), 34 (33)

5. Atthis and Named Friends: 96 (28), 81b (29), 132, 98b (33)

6. Marriage I: 44 (30), 111-110a (31-32)

7. Marriage II: Handout, page II, Top left poem to 182, 258