The latest translation of Homer’s The Odyssey has been translated into English, and while it has been done so dozens of times since it first appeared in English in 1615, this is the first time it has been done by a woman.
Behind the impressive task is Emily Wilson. A professor of Classical Studies and chair of the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania, she has chins wagging over her solid and direct approach to the epic.
While she has revealed that she encountered challenges along the way, such as working out whether parts of the text where written in the passive or active voice, academics are excited about the fact that her approach has preserved the musicality of the poetry while having the confidence to move away from previous interpretations. Written using an iambic pentameter, Wilson has breathed new life into the text that was written almost 3,000 years ago, while showing its contemporary relevance.
The Odyssey follows Odysseus’ 10-year struggle to return home after the Trojan War. As he faces the wrath of the gods and battles mystical creatures, his beloved Penelope and son Telemachus work to stave off suitors vying for Ithaca’s throne and his wife’s hand in marriage.