Friday, May 20, 2016

Sappho is not pleased

Kinda remarkable that The New York Times can publish a review of a novel entitled Sweetbitter that fails to gloss the title. Sweetbitter is Sappho’s γλυκύπικρον , glukúpikron , a word that (famously) describes eros . The novel has lines from Sappho (trans. Anne Carson) as one of two epigraphs.

Related reading
All OCA Sappho posts (Pinboard)

comments: 2

Stefan Hagemann said...

In his 1807 satirical essay, "Advice to a Young Reviewer, with a Specimen of the Art," Edward Copleston advises the would-be reviewer to "write what will sell" and lists these advantages: "in particular, it will greatly lighten your labors to *follow* the public taste, instead of taking upon you to *direct* it. The task of pleasing is at all times easier than that of instructing: at least it does not stand in need of painful research and preparation; and may be effected in general by a little vivacity of manner, and a dexterous morigeration (as Lord Byron calls it) to the humours and frailties of men. Your responsibility too is thereby much lessened. Justice and candour can only be required of you so far as they coincide with this main principle; and a little experience will convince you, that these are not the happiest means of accomplishing your purpose."

(This is a delightful essay, Michael, and ends with a "review" of Milton's "L'Allegro" that cracked me up, but I don't think it's easy to find. If you are interested, I'm glad to e-mail you a copy.)

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Stefan. I know this essay, though I’m not sure how. The Times reviewer seems to be thinking about public taste, for sure. His review begins by saying that the novel is going to make many people hungry.