9780393089059 198

The Odyssey


Homer (Author), Emily Wilson (Translator)

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A lean, fleet-footed translation that recaptures Homer’s "nimble gallop" and brings an ancient epic to new life.

The first great adventure story in the Western canon, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty and power; about marriage, family and identity; and about travellers, hospitality and the changing meanings of home in a strange world.

This vivid new translation—the first by a woman—matches the number of lines in the Greek original, striding at Homer’s sprightly pace. Emily Wilson employs elemental, resonant language and a five-beat line to produce a translation with an enchanting “rhythm and rumble” that avoids proclaiming its own grandeur. An engrossing tale told in a compelling new voice that allows contemporary readers to luxuriate in Homer’s descriptions and similes and to thrill at the tension and excitement of its hero’s adventures, Wilson recaptures what is “epic” about this wellspring of world literature.


“The joy of Homer is precisely the generosity and suppleness of the material, the fact that it resists being read in a single way. That’s why a new kind of guide through his wild landscapes, across his wine-dark seas, is to be welcomed.” — The Guardian

“Wilson’s approach has been to translate the text in a way that resonates with today’s politics. Her translation, spare and provocative, will engage a new generation of students.” — Times Literary Supplement

“Emily Wilson’s new translation of the Odyssey speaks of 'a complicated man' with an 'old story for our modern times'.” — The Spectator

“Wilson’s version is an exciting one, all the better I guess for forcing us to think how approachable, how weird, how everyday Homeric language ever was.” — Mary Beard, Times Literary Supplement

“A masterpiece of translation—fluent, elegant, vigorous.” — Rowan Williams, University of Cambridge

“As the first English translation of this ancient tale by a woman, this lively, fast-paced retelling of Homer’s epic is long overdue. Much as Homer did in his time, Wilson whisks the audience into a realm both familiar and fantastical. The world of Odysseus and his adventures take shape before the reader’s eyes, luminescent once more, in this engaging new translation.” — Justine McConnell, King’s College London

“ This will surely be the Odyssey of choice for a generation.” — Lorna Hardwick, The Open University

“I am not quite sure why, but this instantly hot-wired me into tears.” — Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent

“I think this is a really significant literary moment.” — Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

“Friends, believe the hype. This translation is a marvel!... The sheer energy of the iambic pentameter is revelatory. Her word choices! The rhythm and the politics so delicious, so alive. And the man is devious and quick and fit to bursting with arrogance and cunning. He's perfect. It's sublime.” — Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers

“There are many other [other than being the first female translation] stunning things about Wilson’s translation, from the five-beat lines to the straightforward speech, free from the elegant clunkiness that we usually see when scholars try to carry words over from one language to another. But one of them is certainly an awareness of her own daring.” — Eidolon

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    The Norton Anthology of Western Literature

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    Ninth Edition, 2, Paperback, 2014

    A classic, reimagined.

Related to this Book

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Freedom, Books, Flowers & the Moon

Times Literary Supplement’s Classics editor Mary Beard discusses Emily Wilson’s new translation of the The Odyssey.

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A Woman's Odyssey

Article by Mary Beard for the Times Literary Supplement