Philip Hensher

The cult of Sappho in interwar Paris

Encouraged by the openness of the French, literary-minded lesbians were drawn to the capital, where they soon made a stir in modernist circles

Sylvia Beach, reading the manuscript of James Joyce’s Ulysses, which she would publish. At least a third of the novel was added at proof stage, enormously increasing her costs

I like a book that can put its point in four outrageous words and use it as its title. Diana Souhami might be right. Without the women her book is devoted to, literary modernism would have looked very different. A consciously new approach to writing met a body of women who were being heard for the first time; the results were compelling.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in