Chicago: [Privately Printed], 1907. First Thus. Limited edition of one hundred copies privately printed on handmade paper, of which this is number 87. Bound in full sheepskin with gilt to cover. Monogram L. M. W. stamped in gilt inside front board. Some gentle rubbing to extremities. Offsetting to front and rear endpapers; scattered foxing, mostly to preliminaries, not affecting text. Overall a pleasing copy of this English translation of Sappho, whose poems are credited with establishing a vocabulary for the female expression of desire. The only copy on the market, OCLC reports that 22 of 100 surviving copies are held institutionally.
"Readers of Sappho come to the text with their own expectations of what makes a Sappho poem" (Lardinois). This is because, for most, Sappho's work is familiar as either myth or translation. And her reputation as the first female poet -- a Greek woman who defied gender expectations to create powerful songs of desire -- informs the imaginations even of those who haven't read her verses. This translation by O'Hara does not shy away from Sappho's sensuality, embracing her expressions of longing. "If I, in the space of a moment even, Near to thee come, any word I would utter instantly fails me; Vain my stricken tongue would a whisper fashion, Subtly under my skin runs a fire ecstatic...Overcome with kisses, her faintest protest Melt her mood to mine with amorous touches, Til her low assent and her sigh's abandon Lure me to rapture." Near Fine (Item #2521)