COLLOQUIUM: Barbara Graziosi, Princeton, "Sappho, Networked"

Thursday, October 31, 2019 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

402 Cohen Hall 

Two images of Sappho dominate scholarly discussions of her work: 

the poet as chorus leader, immersed in the ritual life of her 

community and engaged in the here-and-now of performance 

(e.g. Calame 1977, Lardinois 2014) and Sappho the introspective 

author of poetry ‘written for a woman to sing to herself’ 

(Stehle 1997: 295). This paper proposes a new approach to 

Sappho’s work based on the concept of the network, understood 

as ‘a system of interconnected people and things’. Building on 

recent insights on the pragmatics of Sappho’s songs (D’Alessio, 2018) 

and on the maritime orientation of Lesbos’ economy (Kowalzig, forthcoming), 

this paper aims to shed light on Sappho’s oeuvre, its intertexts, 

social functions, and  early reception – by showing how it drew 

strength from, and in turn helped reinforce, well-articulated 

networks extending across the sea.