Sappho: memoir, text, selected renderings, and a literal translation by Henry Thornton Wharton, Sappho, trans. Henry Thornton Wharton, M.A. Oxon. (John Lane [Bodley Head], London, A.C. McClurg & Co, Chicago, 1895 (third edition))
7.25″ X 4.75″, xx 217pp + 16pp publisher’s list, hardbound, the third edition (this being the first to have its boards decorated by Aubrey Beardsley) green cloth boards with gilt decorations and titles on spine, bottom of the spine states “The Bodley Head and Chicago” reflecting the two publishing houses, top edge gilt, others deckled. Good condition for age, binding and hinges good, newspaper article attached to front, Daily News, Nov. 30, 1915, bookseller stamp on lower front pastdown “H.K. Lewis, 136 Gower Street, London, W.C.”, annotated throughout in pencil.
Sappho was a Greek lyric poet, born on the island of Lesbos. The Alexandrians included her in the list of nine lyric poets. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC, but little is known for certain about her life. The bulk of her poetry, which was well-known and greatly admired through much of antiquity, has been lost. But, her immense reputation has endured through surviving fragments. Sappho’s poetry centers on passion and love for various people and both sexes. The word lesbian derives from the name of the island of her birth, Lesbos, while her name is also the origin of the word sapphic; neither word was applied to female homosexuality until the 19th century, after this translation by Wharton, the first English translation to acknowledge it.
Originally John Lane and Elkin Mathews — The Bodley Head was a partnership set up in 1887 by John Lane (1854–1925) and Elkin Mathews (1851–1921), to trade in antiquarian books in London. It took its name from a bust of Sir Thomas Bodley, the eponymist of the Bodleian Library in Oxford, above the shop door. Lane and Mathews began in 1894 to publish works of ‘stylish decadence’, including the notorious literary periodical The Yellow Book.
A. C. McClurg was a Chicago, Illinois based publisher made famous by their original publishing of the Tarzan of the Apes novels and other stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Founded by Henry King Lewis in 1844, H.K. Lewis & Co. Ltd, was a publisher, bookseller, and lending library. Their members (mostly medical school students) paid a small fee and had access to their extensive library of books.