Sappho and Homer: A Reparative Reading | National Humanities Center

Work of the Fellows: Monographs

Sappho and Homer: A Reparative Reading

By Melissa Mueller (NHC Fellow, 2019–20)

book cover of Sappho and Homer

Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2023

From the publisher’s description:

In this book, Melissa Mueller brings two of the most celebrated poets from Greek antiquity into conversation with contemporary theorists of gender, sexuality, and affect studies. Like all lyric poets of her time, Sappho was steeped in the affects and story-world of Homeric epic, and the language, characters, and themes of her poetry often intersect with those of Homer. Yet the relationship between Sappho and Homer has usually been framed as competitive and antagonistic. This book instead sets the two side by side, within the embrace of a non-hierarchical, “reparative reading” culture, as first conceived by queer theorist and poet Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. Reintroducing readers to a Sappho who supplements Homer's vision, it is an approach that locates Sappho's lyrics at the center of timely discussions about materiality, shame, queer failure, and the aging body, while presenting a sustaining and collaborative way of reading both lyric and epic.

Classics / Gender and Sexuality / Literary Criticism / Ancient Greek Literature / Lyric Poetry / Epic Poetry / Queer Theory / Comparative Literature / Homer / Sappho /

Mueller, Melissa (NHC Fellow, 2019–20). Sappho and Homer: A Reparative Reading. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2023.