Sunday, May 13, 2012

Shadow Bank

“For there is this to be said for fragmentary survival, that no one can prove that you didn’t write brilliantly, and an ingenious partisan can make it apparent that you did.  A certain radiance may invest even the meanest of your remaining shreds, so that when an old commentator writes

At the porch the most musical and μειλιχσφωγοι (gentle-voiced) of the girls sang the marriage anthem, which clearly is Sappho’s most delicate composition,

a word not otherwise notable can become germinally suggestive, a toy for the imagination.  From the tiny part we are tempted to imagine the whole: a generous exercise if we remember that it is intended as nothing more conclusive.”

Dudley Fitts:  From the Foreward to Mary Barnard, Sappho, A New Translation, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1958.

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