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The Laughter of Aphrodite: A Novel about Sappho of Lesbos Paperback – December 28, 1995

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"We have no business to romanticize the ancient past, or to see the glory that was Greece as a history of gods and heroes, remote from us, preserved in the translucent air of ancient (proper, well-intentioned) values. In fact, of course, the Greeks were just as disgraceful as we are--and Green's persuasive Sappho makes that clear."--Mary Margaret McCabe, "Times Literary Supplement

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"One of the best novels set in the Classical world."—Gore Vidal
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (December 28, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520203402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520203402
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,890,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Green lives by the Solent, and loves sailing and kite surfing. Having spent time in the military and in business, he is now an appraisal manager for a leading CV & Career Consultancy.
His writing and editing experience focus on imparting information, including detailed technical manuals, policies and procedures for the military and for global corporations. He is the author of the ILO (UN) Code of Practice for the Security of Ports, and more recently has produced CV appraisals, interview preparation, career and job hunting information, and advice and help for people in all walks of life, all over the world.

Philosophy: Persevere and Persist

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By gaetano catelli on October 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
in reading "The Laughter of Aphrodite", i was very pleasantly surprised. generally, i am not a fan of fiction. given how difficult it is for a great many people to accept irrefutable fact, i find it somewhat alarming that an author would intentionally write an entire work of fiction.

but, because i have found several of the classical historian Peter Green's other works to be so worthwhile, and because Plato called Sappho the 10th Muse, i decided to give "The Laughter of Aphrodite" a read.

i am very glad i did. to begin with, Green is an accomplished storyteller. he seamlessly weaves the political and cultural history of the island of Lesbos in the early 7th century BCE with an imaginative construction of Sappho's life from what survives of her poems, and what the ancients themselves wrote about her. and, though i am usually impatient with descriptive detail, i was enchanted by Green's 'proetic' evocations of sights, sounds, and scents ranging from articles in Sappho's bedroom to the Lesbian landscape.

further, i've never read a more convincing account of the emotional relationships between a woman and her relatives, friends, lovers, and adversaries.

further yet, i've never read the equal of Green's account of the internal life an artist.

oh, and as a bonus for the fictive-phobic (such as myself), in the back of this volume there is a chronology that indicates which elements are believed to be historical fact, which are reasonable conjectures, and which are the creative interpolations of the author.

so far, i have gotten 4 friends to (gratefully) read this book.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Arleen on May 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Peter Green has created an insightful portrait of Sappho and the world in which she lived. This first person narrative is written with abundant poetic imagery -- great for giving you the feeling that Sappho is really the author, but not so great for following the storyline. Written by a reminiscing middle-aged Sappho, the plot continually shifts time frames, making it hard to keep up with what's going on. Like fragments of Sappho's poetry itself, the pieces *do* eventually come together, but only after many, many pages of frustrating reading.

One caveat: One of the back cover reviewers describes this as "an explicitly erotic modern novel," and maybe that was true when it was originally published in 1965. What sex there is is far from graphic, although it is sensual. ... .
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
I've been touched by this powerful novel. What amaze me most is the way Sappho's character is revealed in all her plain and complex humanity. Is not a Sappho's personal account only . Besides the novel recreates its world with such authority and ease that makes a real pleasure to read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Mease on January 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was first made familiar with Green's skills as a writer through his more historical works on the age of Alexander. I opened this book with high expectations, and was generally satisfied. The work presents a writer with excellent voice and talent in storytelling. I really appreciate the historical detail of this work (even if occasional oversights occur... can Sappho describe a poker-face?). My one criticism: I thought the sexual element was overplayed; the work is seems first a story of sexual expression, and only then one of a Sappho the poet.
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The Laughter of Aphrodite: A Novel about Sappho of Lesbos
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