Why everything is online forever. Except when it’s not.
At university, one of my supervisors had a book of Sappho’s poetry on his desk. In her heyday, Sappho was considered the greatest poet of all time and was nicknamed “the Tenth Muse,” the 7th-century BC equivalent of calling Bruce Springsteen “the Boss.” Most of Sappho’s works have been lost. All that is left of one poem are the words “thought” and “barefoot.” Another page in my supervisor’s book was just the single word “lady.” For my part, I struggled to get much from these. Maybe you needed to read them in the original Greek.
Sappho isn’t the only poet whose works have been lost along the way. Poems by Chaucer have gone AWOL, and maybe a couple