Jonathan Keates

Sappho’s Priestesses

Wild Girls: Paris, Sappho and Art - The Lives and Loves of Natalie Barney and Romaine Brooks

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 224pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

If there had been a lesbian map of the world in the first half of the twentieth century, the twin poles would have been located, not at icy regions to north and south, but at a Greek island and a French city. Lesbos itself, where Sappho had first given utterance to the sexual desire of one woman for another, was a place of pilgrimage, despite its primitive tourist infrastructure and the bemused or frankly hostile attitude of its inhabitants towards those who came to commune with the spirit of the classical poetess. Lesbianism’s true nirvana, however, lay beside the Seine rather than the Aegean. Paris, orientated towards the female in everything from haute couture to the grandes horizontales became, sometime around 1890, the paradise of sapphists, especially those with time and money at their disposal.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,
    • Hi , we would love to review 'Death of the Vazir-Mukhtar' in our next issue! Please could you get in… ,