[an augmented and enhanced version of the author's Y2K sell out hit PSAPPHA]
Here SAPPHO SINGS in her own words. Ancient phrases become the warp and weave of an intricate tapestry so delicately woven it becomes impossible to distinguish the imported threads from the weaver's own.
Readers familiar with the myriad translations of the few fragmented lines of Sappho's work left available to us may recognize a word here or a conjunct there but, as one renowned expert in antiquities discovered, the author has herself become the voice of The Poetess to the extent that invented passages read like newly discovered wonders from the past.
Sappho truly sings again. She sings to the hearts of everyone, women and men of open minds, many centuries after her mortal end, with lyrical intimations of equality, love, and freedom of spirit. In a marvelous tribute to the wonders and depths of true femininity, with a star character that would champion the rights of women if alive today, Bell plucks Sappho out of a male-dominated political era long ago that tried to bury her glory, and brings her back to life for us in the twenty first century.
Psappha took exception to Alkaios' opinion of the Trojan War. "You are a greater fool than I thought, you insufferable sot. Do you actually believe that men fought for ten years over a silly king's faithless wife, and nothing more? Look at the story! What do you have? As men tell it, you have supposedly intelligent men, of all cities, dying to defend the honor of one minor king who was not man enough to keep his wife at home, while quarreling among themselves for the privilege of despoiling women other men thought they owned.
"I tell you, Helen was a woman in love, nothing more. Menelaus and his greedy brother wanted control of the Hellesport and used her as an excuse, as if men ever need an excuse for their bloodthirsty games of grab and grovel."
"Surely you aren't saying that Helen had no part in it," Alkaios slurred.
"Of course she had a part," Psappha admitted, accenting with a wave of her arm that sent wine slopping onto the hearth without her notice. "Of course she had a part, but who are we to say what that part was? Who are we to judge her? Who are we to pretend to know what those who knew her thought of her? History is a plague if you take it without question.
"Homer was a man, or men, no one is sure. What can a man know of a woman's mind? Can you claim to comprehend the many facets of mine? No. Of course, you can't. Nor I yours. But, I ask you, Kios, how might the story read if written by a woman's hand. How would the years of battle sound if told by Helen or Klytemnestra? What might Penelope have had to say about Odysseus' adventures? In her version, might not her troubles exceed his in import? History is written, and oft revised, by men, Alkaios, and men, when it comes to their precious honor, are unmitigated fools."