Sylvia beach

The cult of Sappho in interwar Paris

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. At the beginning of a novel by one of them, Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans, the terror of masculine traditions is concisely stated: Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. ‘Stop!’, cried the groaning old man at last, ‘Stop! I