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First published in Paris in 1894, this purports to be translations of poems by a woman named Bilitis, a contemporary and acquaintance of Sappho. However, 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 and fabricated an entire section of his book called 'The Life of Bilitis'. When the fraud was exposed, it did little, however, to taint the book's literary value in readers' eyes, and Louÿs' open and sympathetic celebration of lesbian sexuality earned him sensation and historic significance.
Part of Anne Haight's List of Banned Books.
This book has 159 pages in the PDF version. This translation by Alvah C. Bessie was originally published in 1926.
Production notes: This ebook of The Songs of Bilitis was published by Global Grey in 2018.
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