Torch: U.S. LXVII Spring 2018 - Page 8


Spring 2018 · Torch:U.S. · Interview

A New Take on a Classic: Emily Wilson's Translation of The Odyssey


Right: The cover of Emily Wilson's Published translation. Photo: submitted by Helena Holland

Released in November of 2017, Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey is the first female translation of Homer’s epic into English. Wilson’s translation spread through word of her unique feminine perspective and contemporary voice. It is an engaging and poetic work that brings to life an ancient classic rich in characters, drama, and suspense.

Wilson, thoughtful and sincere in her replies to questions about her work, disclosed that her reason for undertaking such a daunting task as translating The Odyssey was simply because she was asked.

“I had to do my job. But quite honestly, I didn’t have to do it when I was asked, and part of the reason I said yes was because I realized I could do something completely different from all of the other translations that are out there. It would be truthful to things that I experienced in the Greek text that I felt weren’t being included in the other translations,” Wilson added.

One aspect of the original that she made sure to include in her translation was a highly rhythmic form of verse. While the original Greek is written in six-footed lines, Wilson uses iambic pentameter, the standard meter of English narrative.