The Legacy of Sappho: Background information when reading After Sappho

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After Sappho

A Novel

by Selby Wynn Schwartz

After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz X
After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz
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  • Published:
    Jan 2023, 272 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Jo-Anne Blanco
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About this Book

The Legacy of Sappho

This article relates to After Sappho

Natalie Barney and Colette Selby Wynn Schwartz's debut novel After Sappho reimagines the lives of early 20th century lesbian authors and artists. The novel tells the story of how these women ignited a radical feminist movement inspired by the ancient Greek poet Sappho, broke free from conventions to pursue their own desires and creativity, and flourished within their own women-only communities. In her 1907 work Comment les femmes deviennent écrivains (How Women Become Writers), the French writer Aurel, who ran her own literary salon from 1915 until her death in 1948, stated her belief that women should not follow the rules for writing that had been laid down by men. "It was time for women to take language for themselves, Aurel said, even one word at a time, to take their own names and become. To become one word."

The emergence of a new kind of literature written by women in this period did not go unnoticed and was often received with hostility. In 1905, the English writer Virginia Woolf...

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