Sappho and Alcaeus. An Introduction to the Study of Ancient Lesbian Poetry.
Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1955. IX,340p. Cloth wrps. Wrps bit worn. Pencil annotation from WGA on p.301. With initials from Prof. W.G. Arnott on free endpaper. Page's book on Sappho and Alcaeus is a companion to 'Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta', and it is advisable that those who read Page's book should have P.L.F. at their elbow for reference; thanks however, to the full concordances which Page provides in his first index, readers should be able to follow his arguments fairly well if they have access to Diehl and Bergk. Part i is devoted to Sappho (pp.3-146), and is divided into two sections. The first (3-109) deals with twelve poems, covering practically all the poems by Sappho of which it is possible to gain any coherent idea. Each of these poems is dealt with in the same way: first the text is set out (...), and then we have a translation, a commentary on points of detail, and a more general interpretation (...). These detailed studies are followed by a second section (110-146) on 'The contents and Character of Sappho's Poetry', in which Page discusses such matters as the number of books intro which the Alexandrian edition of Sappho's works was divided and the distribution of the poems among the books (...) the parts played by the gods (especially Aphrodite) and by heroes and heroines in Sappho's poetry (...). And though it remains true that de gustibus non disputandum, yet it must be said that few lovers of poetry are likely to be satisfied with Page's views of Sappho as a poet. (...) It is a relief to turn (...) to the calm and scholarly atmosphere of Part ii (147-317), in which he deals with the non-political poems of Alcaeus. His account of the historical background (both political and literary) of Alcaeus' works is certain to be recognized as a most important contribution to our knowledge of that hitherto all but unknown period (...). Our gratitude to Professor Page for his masterly treatment of Alcaeus may be allowed to compensate for our doubts about his views on Sappho.' (J.A. DAVISON in The Classical Review (New Series), 1957, pp.21-23). From the library of the late Prof. W. Geoffrey Arnott.