A chain of remembrance
DOI link for A chain of remembrance
A chain of remembrance book
Many of the descriptions of desire and erotic interaction in Sappho’s songs are mediated - transformed and perpetuated - by the way she represents memory. In male lyric poetry, time was rep resented as a relentless enemy, love was temporary, exhilarating, and often violent.1 For Sappho the manipulation of time through memory extended sweetbitter moments of love into a poetic eter nity. In this chapter I investigate this mediating force and the effect it has on many of her representations. Not only those concerned with erotic exchanges, but also the time-oriented divisions in a woman’s life, and the myths and rituals that Sappho reconstructs, that construct modes of poetic and communal interaction which defy temporal categories. In the context of love memory is conso latory, renewing, idealising; it also has the power to negate the pain of present anguish or separation or time-ridden distinctions such as old age. As a primary constituent of oral poetry it is represented by a divinity, Mnemosyne.2 Association with Mnemosyne, and with the power that attends her, glorifies both song and singer.