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7 Greeks written by Guy Davenport


7 Greeks written by Guy Davenport


"Overall, this volume will afford great pleasure to scholars, teachers, and also those who simply love to watch delightful souls disport themselves in language."—Anne Carson

Publishers Weekly

Taken from mummy wrappings and other relics, these are found poems of the most literal sort-all the words that remain from a gang of seven who lived between the 7th and 3rd century B.C.: Sappho, Archilochos, Herakleitos, et al. Davenport, fiction writer (Table of Green Fields) and essayist (Geography of the Imagination) as well as translator, has constructed an exhaustive scholarly anthology, sometimes offering multiple translations of a piece. About half of the selections read as though complete, or possibly so; the rest is made up of scraps of words whose context was lost in the parchment that dissolved around them. Reading these fragments is like moving through an art museum where just the titles remain ("Sparks in wheat'') or, thanks to the author's accessible vernacular and the randy spirits of our ancients, browsing in the local video mart ("Butt kisser!''). Diogenes serves up aphorisms and witticisms that crack on Plato; lengthier segments sing of wars, gods and virgins. Readers are left wanting for that which has turned to dust. (June)

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