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Goddess, sing of the cataclysmic wrath
of great Achilles, son of Peleus
which caused the Greeks immeasurable pain …
Emily Wilson’s bestselling translation of Homer’s Odyssey brought the ancient poem to new audiences, of all ages. Her new metrical translation of The Iliad, Homer’s epic account of the ninth year of the Trojan War, has been published to acclaim.
A renowned Classical scholar and author, Emily Wilson is Professor of Humanities and of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She joins us online from the US to discuss her approach to her vivid, propulsive and affecting translation of The Iliad, which draws the poem’s entwined themes of grief and rage into sharp focus.
‘I want to convey the strangeness, visceral humanity, and metrical music of Homer,’ Wilson says. She will be interviewed by the Guardian’s chief culture writer, the award-winning author and classicist, Charlotte Higgins, who was a guest of ClassicsNow in Dublin in 2022.
Emily Wilson is the College for Women Class of 1963 Term Professor in the Humanities and a professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been named a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome in Renaissance and Early Modern scholarship, a MacArthur Fellow, and a Guggenheim Fellow.
Her best-selling 2017 translation of Homer’s Odyssey has achieved ‘canonical status,’ according to the Atlantic and the Washington Post. Her translation of The Iliad has just been published by Norton. In addition, she has also published translations of Sophocles, Euripides, and Seneca, as well as books about tragedy, Socrates, and Seneca, and serves as an editor of The Norton Anthology of World Literature.
Charlotte Higgins's books include Greek Myths: a New Retelling, the acclaimed Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain, which was shortlisted for awards including the Samuel Johnson (now Baillie Gifford) Prize for non-fiction, and Red Thread, which was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and won the Arnold Bennett Prize 2019. She is chief culture writer with the Guardian, a past winner of the Classical Association prize, and a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. She lives in London.