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Bilitis (1977) - David Hamilton [Amazon.com]


The Songs of Bilitis, Les Chansons de Bilitis in French, was a forgery published in 1894 by Pierre Lou˙s in Paris. The collection of poems in ancient Greek was ascribed to a courtesan and contemporary of Sappho, Bilitis, to whose 'life' Lou˙s dedicated a small section of his book. He claimed the 143 prose poems, excluding 3 epitaphs, were entirely the work of this ancient poetess - a place where she poured both her most intimate thoughts and most public actions, from childhood innocence in Pamphylia to the loneliness and chagrin of her later years. Although for the most part The Songs of Bilitis is original work, many of the poems in the collection were reworked epigrams from the Palatine Anthology, and Lou˙s even borrowed some verses from Sappho herself. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songs_of_Bilitis [Aug 2005]

See also: 1894 - 1926 - illustration - Pierre Lou˙s

Bilitis (1894) - Pierre Lou˙s [Amazon.com]

First published in Paris in 1894, this purports to be translations of poems by a woman named Bilitis, a contemporary and acquaintance of Sappho. This caused a sensation, not only because finding an intact cache of poems from a completely unknown Greek poet circa 600 B.C. would be a miracle, but because of its open and sensitive exploration of lesbian eroticism. Actually Bilitis never existed. The poems were a clever forgery by Pierre Louÿs--the "translator"; to lend weight, he had even included a bibliography with bogus supporting works. Louÿs actually did have a good command of the classics, and he salted Bilitis with a number of quotations from real poets, including Sappho, to make it even more convincing.

Just because this is a fake does not detract from its literary value. And just because it was written by a man did not prevent it from acquiring cultural significance for Lesbians. In fact, one of the earliest organizations of Lesbians in the United States was called the Daughters of Bilitis (although this could have been because it was a reference that would elude most people).

Prior to the 1960s, in the US, English translations of Bilitis were considered risqué enough to warrant lavish privately printed limited editions. This was a dodge to circumvent now-defunct censorship laws. The version this particular etext is based on was printed in 1926, and has sensual and very witty Art Deco illustrations by Wily Pogany. --http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/sob/ [Sept 2004]

Bilitis (1894) - Pierre Lou˙s [Amazon.com]

The Songs of Bilitis (1894) - Pierre Lou˙s

Willy Pogany illustration for Pierre Lou˙s' Bilitis
image sourced here. [Aug 2005]

The Songs of Bilitis (1894) - Pierre Lou˙s [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

New York , privately printed for subscribers , Macy-Masius 1926.
Traduzione di Alvah C. Bessie
Naturalmente la copertina e le immagini sono della quasi anastatica ristampa della Dover Publications, New York 1988. --http://www.sademarchese.org/louys/BILITISPOGANY/pogan.htm [Aug 2005]

William Andrew (Willy) Pogany (1882-1955), prolific illustrator of children's and adult books. Born Vilmos Andreas Pogany in Szeged, Hungary in 1882, came to America via Paris and London.

In London, he produced his four masterpieces, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1910), Richard Wagner's Tannhauser (1911), Parsifal (1912) and Lohengrin (1913). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Pogany [Aug 2005]

Pierre Lissac illustration for Pierre Lou˙s' Bilitis
image sourced here. [Aug 2005]

Bilitis (1977) - David Hamilton [...]

Writing credits Catherine Breillat Pierre Lou˙s (novel)

Plot Outline: A coming of age story centering on the exploits of a young girl during summer vacation. --http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075753/

1955: Daughters of Bilitis is formed in San Francisco

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