Composed at the rosy-fingered dawn of world literature almost three millennia ago, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home.
This fresh, authoritative translation captures the beauty of this ancient poem as well as the drama of its narrative. Its characters are unforgettable, none more so than the "complicated" hero himself, a man of many disguises, many tricks, and many moods, who emerges in this version as a more fully rounded human being than ever before.
Written in iambic pentameter verse and a vivid, contemporary idiom, Emily Wilson's Odyssey sings with a voice that echoes Homer's music; matching the number of lines in the Greek original, the poem sails along at Homer's swift, smooth pace.
A fascinating, informative introduction explores the Bronze Age milieu that produced the epic, the poem's major themes, the controversies about its origins, and the unparalleled scope of its impact and influence. Maps drawn especially for this volume, a pronunciation glossary, and extensive notes and summaries of each book make this is an Odyssey that will be treasured by a new generation of readers.
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About the AuthorHomer is best known as the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey. He was believed by the ancient Greeks to have been the first and greatest of the epic poets. Author of the first known literature of Europe, he is central to the Western canon. Homer's works, which are about fifty percent speeches, provided models in persuasive speaking and writing that were emulated throughout the ancient and medieval Greek worlds. Fragments of Homer account for nearly half of all identifiable Greek literary papyrus finds in Egypt. The Iliad is paired with something of a sequel, The Odyssey, also attributed to Homer. Both stories were intended to be sung by an epic poet. Along with The Odyssey, The Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, and its written version is usually dated to around the eighth century BC.
Emily Wilson is a professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Philadelphia. Her website is emilyrcwilson.com, and she is active on Twitter as @EmilyRCWilson.
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
Emily Wilson's crisp and musical version is a cultural landmark.... This translation will change the way the poem is read in English.--Charlotte Higgins
Emily Wilson has given us a staggeringly superior translation--true, poetic, lively and readable, and always closely engaged with the original Greek--that brings to life the fascinating variety of voices in Homer's great epic.--Richard F. Thomas, Harvard University
In her powerful new translation, Emily Wilson... has chosen immediacy and naturalism over majestic formality. She preserves the musicality of Homer's poetry, opting for an iambic pentameter whose approachable storytelling tone invites us in, only to startle us with eruptions of beauty.... Wilson's transformation of such a familiar and foundational work is... astonishing.--Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
Wilson's translation is a superb achievement and a striking departure from the tradition of Homeric translation into English.... There is no elaborate or antiquated diction, just a crispness and clear-headedness that will seem quite alien to anyone familiar with earlier versions.... Wilson has produced a wonderfully distinctive--and modern--version of the poem.--Henry Power
This translation is a marvel! Bold and timely and ever so exciting.... As majestic as literature gets.--Max Porter, author of Grief Is the Thing With Feathers