How Emily Wilson Translated ‘The Odyssey’

Odyssey by Homer 700BC trans 2017 by Emily Wilson

Chicago Review of Books

The Odyssey—the ancient Greek epic attributed to Homer—has been translated into English at least 60 times since the seventeenth century. But only one of those translations is by a woman. Her name is Emily Wilson (photo credit: Imogen Roth), and she’s a professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her brilliant new translation hit shelves in November. In this interview, we discuss how her identity as a woman—and a cis-gendered feminist—informs her translation work, how her Odyssey translation honors both ancient traditions and contemporary reading practices, and what Homer meant when he called Dawn, repeatedly, “rosy-fingered.” This interview has been edited slightly for length.

Odyssey Excerpt

Amy Brady

In your recent review of Barry Powell’s translation of ‘The Poems of Hesiod’ in the New York Review of Books, you critique the translator’s “gender bias.” What does it mean to have a gender bias when translating literature, and how do…

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The Research Whisperer

Old volumes of books: Historian's history of the world volume XXIII, and three volumes of Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopedia Ideas of the world, by Jonathan O’Donnell

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