The Iliad

26 September 2023

Homer (Author), Emily Wilson (Translator)


The greatest literary landmark of classical antiquity masterfully rendered by the most celebrated translator of our time

When Emily Wilson's translation of The Odyssey appeared in 2017—revealing the ancient poem in a contemporary idiom that "combines intellectual authority with addictive readability" (Edith Hall, The Sunday Telegraph)—critics lauded it as "a revelation" (Susan Chira, The New York Times) and "a cultural landmark" (Charlotte Higgins, The Guardian) that would forever change how Homer is read in English. Now Wilson has returned with an equally revelatory translation of the first great Homeric epic: The Iliad.

In Wilson's hands, this exciting and often horrifying work now gallops at a pace befitting its battle scenes, roaring with the clamour of arms, the bellowing boasts of victors and the anguished cries of dying men. Wilson's unadorned but resonant language plumbs the poem's profound pathos and reveals its characters as palpably real, even "complicated", human beings. Capping a decade of intense engagement with Homer's poetry, Wilson's Iliad now gives us a complete Homer for our generation.


"Wilson’s translation runs as swift as a bloody river, teems with the clattering sounds of war, bursts with the warriors’ hunger for battle" — Charlotte Higgins, The Guardian

"Wilson’s Iliad is clear and brisk, its iambic pentameter a zone of enchantment. " — Ange Mlinko, London Review of Books

"Superb... [a] beautiful, fluent, memorable translation" — Rowan Williams, New Statesman

"Seduce[s] with its crystalline clarity, elegance, sensuality, sometimes breathless pace and above all emotional clout." — Edith Hall, The Guardian

"A triumphant new translation of the Iliad... It's a poem you read with your heart in your throat. " — A. E. Stallings, The Spectator

"A propulsive road... an excellent translation" — Natalie Haynes, BBC Culture

"Sing, goddess, of the skill of Emily [Wilson]." — Robbie Millen, The Times

"Vitally urgent" — Judith Thurman, The New Yorker

"For the Greeks, Homer was the universal poet. He was likened to the ocean, circling the world, from which all cultural rivers flowed... Two thousand years later, those rivers still flow. Wilson can take much pride in her successful contribution to this mighty stream" — Peter Jones, The Times

"Emily Wilson’s superb rendering of the Greek epic resounds with Miltonic echoes" — The Telegraph

"Emily Wilson's translation of the "Iliad" brings Homer's great war story to rousing new life....propulsive....buoyant and expressive. " — Natalie Haynes, The New York Times Book Review

"In Wilson's hands, the poem sings with the clash of bronze, the thundering of hooves, the savage holler of war-cries. Her use of iambic pentameter imbues it with irresistible pace and rhythm. It flows like music – exhilarating, tragic, beautiful and stirring" — Jennifer Saint, the i newspaper

"Wilson is at her best when writing of the battlefield. As others have noted, she has a knack for the consonantal sounds of warfare… Wilson’s Iliad is always to the point." — Kate Maltby, Financial Times

"Wilson's translation is vivid, lucid, pacy... For those yet to encounter this violent, charming, disturbing, beautiful poem, now is the time." — Katherine Backler, The Tablet

"Excellent... [Wilson] achieves a fluid and consistent vision." — Philip Womack, Spectator World

"Wilson has forged a poetic style in English that captures the essence of Homeric Greek….Readable, relevant and from the heart, this is the “Iliad” we have all been waiting for, whether we knew it or not.”" — Naoíse Mac Sweeny, The Washington Post

"We should be grateful for Emily Wilson's luminous new translation of the Iliad... Wilson's edition should be compulsory reading for every statesperson and politician—especially those seeking to make cheap capital out of our current tragedy... Read and be awed—and afraid." — Lyndsey Stonebridge, New Statesman

"[Wilson] captures so brilliantly the fire and dread and bewilderment and rage of the poem. She wears her erudition beautifully: she matches it with such wit, precision and flair." — Katherine Rundell

"Emily Wilson's muscular and moving new translation is truly what it claims to be - a version for our time" — Andrew Motion, The Spectator

"[An] acclaimed translation of The Iliad... [Wilson] breathes fire and clarity into the Greek poet's darker work" — Gwendolyn Smith, the i newspaper

"Achilles was back in the bestseller lists, thanks to Emily Wilson's acclaimed Iliad" — Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph

"Wilson's elegant translation of Homer's epic tragedy deepens our understanding of this bruising song of love and death." — Colin Grant, The Observer

"Filled with spirit and exuberance... a version rendered in iambic pentameters that are by turns barnstorming, bleak and beautiful. " — Rishi Dastidar, The Guardian

"Wilson brings a rare combination of academic rigour and the lyricism of a born poet to one of Europe's most important texts, making ancient battles vivid and visceral and the language of Homer sing like few translators before. If you are buying for a classicist or even for someone who's been meaning to get around to the classics, you won't go wrong with this one." — Charlie Connelly, The New European

"A magisterial translation of the Iliad... The story of the battle between Hector and Achilles in the Trojan War, of a city under siege, of innocents caught up in conflict, has never been more resonant or necessary." — The Mail on Sunday

"In her new translation of The Iliad, Emily Wilson finds a fluid and readable idiom to depict the heroism, violence and vaingloriousness of Homer's Trojan War. Her rendering is more supple than sonorous, and both gods and men squabble, sulk, huff and puff with the breath of life, until it expires. " — Michael Prodger, Country Life


Shortlisted — Runciman Award, 2024

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  • The Odyssey

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  • The Odyssey: A Norton Critical Edition

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  • The Odyssey

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    A lean, fleet-footed translation that recaptures Homer’s "nimble gallop" and brings an ancient epic to new life.
  • The Odyssey: A Norton Critical Edition

    Homer, Emily Wilson

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    “A revelation. Never have I been so aware at once of the beauty of the poetry, the physicality of Homer’s world, and the moral ambiguity of those who inhabit it.” —Susan Chira, The New York Times...

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163 x 244 mm • 848 pages


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