The Odyssey: On 24 May 2018 Emily Wilson talks about her new translation of The Odyssey.

Emily Wilson

This blog provides links to reviews of the book and interviews with the author.

Reviews of The Odyssey

The Guardian: The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson review – a new cultural landmark – Charlotte Higgins 8 December 2017

Emily Wilson’s crisp and musical version is a cultural landmark. Armed with a sharp, scholarly rigour, she has produced a translation that exposes centuries of masculinist readings of the poem.

New York Times: A Version of Homer That Dares to Match Him Line for Line – Gregory Hays 5 December 2017

To read a translation is like looking at a photo of a sculpture: It shows the thing, but not from every angle. Like every translator, Wilson brings out some features more clearly than others. But altogether it’s as good an “Odyssey” as one could hope for.

National Public Radio: Emily Wilson’s ‘Odyssey’ Scrapes The Barnacles Off Homer’s Hull – Annalisa Quinn 2 December 2017

Wilson’s project is basically a progressive one: to scrape away all the centuries of verbal and ideological buildup — the Christianizing (Homer predates Christianity), the nostalgia, the added sexism (the epics are sexist enough as they are), and the Victorian euphemisms — to reveal something fresh and clean.

Washington Post: The first English translation of ‘The Odyssey’ by a woman was worth the wait – Madeline Miller 16 November 2017

Wilson’s language is fresh, unpretentious and lean. Though there are plenty of finely wrought moments, she isn’t looking to gild the poetic lily but rather to emphasize the emotional arc of the story, engaging readers first and foremost with the plight and character of Odysseus.

Interviews with Emily Wilson

Chicago Review of Books: How Emily Wilson Translated ‘The Odyssey’ – Amy Brady 16 January 2018

In my work on my translation of the Odyssey, I didn’t want to be in any way untruthful or irresponsible about what the original text is saying or doing. I tried to think, as much as I could, about how my own identities and histories might affect my interestedness in the poem: as a woman and as a gender-aware feminist (which isn’t necessarily implied by the first), and as an immigrant, a mother, a writer/poet, and so on. I thought and wrote a lot on the side about all the many ways I felt the Odyssey mapping onto elements of my own life.

National Public Radio: A Complicated Man, Outlined Clearly In Emily Wilson’s New ‘Odyssey’ – Lauren Frayer 24 December 2017

I spent many many many days and hours and weeks rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. I didn’t sort of instantly have the muse speak to me, how I should translate it … but what I wanted to do was have something of what I see in the original, which is a crystalline clarity…

Book Riot: Interview with Emily Wilson on her new translation of The Odyssey – Angel Cruz 4 December 2017

What I was trying to achieve in this translation is narrative pace. So if one is arguing about a particular word, then I’ve kind of lost you. I wanted to be able to do a close reading, but I also don’t want it to be every single word, we’re going to stop.

The New York Times: The First Woman to Translate the ‘Odyssey’ Into English – Wyatt Mason 2 November 2017

I do think that gender matters and I’m not going to not say it’s something I’m grappling with. I’m trying to take this task and this process of responding to this text and creating this text extremely seriously, with whatever I have, linguistically, sonically, emotionally.