Emily Wilson is professor of Classical Studies and graduate chair of the Program in Comparative Literature & Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. Her translation of the Odyssey, published by Norton in 2017, is the first known complete translation by a woman in English. In 2006, she was named a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome in Renaissance & Early Modern scholarship. She lives in Philadelphia with her three daughters and three cats. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRCWilson.
Books by Emily Wilson
by Homer and translated by Emily Wilson
"Tell me about a complicated man.
Muse, tell me how he wandered and was lost
when he had wrecked the holy town of Troy,
and where he went, and who he met, the pain
he suffered in the storms at sea, and how
he worked to save his life and bring his men
Odyssey, opening lines (Emily Wilson translation)
If you're interested in Homer and the poem of the Odyssey, the 2017 translation by Emily Wilson, Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, is a great place to start. Not only is it a highly readable translation, but the introduction provides a lot of context and historical background for anyone wondering who Homer was, when the poem was first written down etc.
Many of us would love to listen to the Odyssey, as that's how it was first delivered back in 700 BCE. Fortunately, the American actress Claire Danes has narrated the audiobook—so stick in your headphones, put your feet on the sofa, and press play.
Seneca (translated by Emily Wilson)
“He portrays people saying the unsayable, thinking the unthinkable, and doing the unspeakable. And the Elizabethans couldn’t get enough of it.” Read more...
Robert S Miola on Shakespeare’s Sources
Robert S Miola, Classicist
Interviews with Emily Wilson
The best books on The Odyssey, recommended by Emily Wilson
The Odyssey has been constantly rewritten by centuries of writers, but like so much of Greek myth, it's always already open to revising its own narrative. Emily Wilson, Professor of Classics at the University of Pennsylvania and the first woman to translate the Odyssey into English, recommends the best books to read after (or alongside) the Ancient Greek epic, and offers sage wisdom about both translating ancient epics and why everyone can learn from the Odyssey today.
Interviews where books by Emily Wilson were recommended
Robert S Miola on Shakespeare’s Sources
William Shakespeare has a strong claim to be the most influential writer of all time. But whose works influenced him? And how? Robert S Miola discusses the breadth of Shakespeare’s reading, the vexed question of how we can reconstruct what he read, and the staggeringly innovative ways that Shakespeare shaped his sources
The best books on Virgil, recommended by Sarah Ruden
Virgil is one of the most influential poets in the history of Western literature. Here, another poet, Sarah Ruden, talks about the challenges of translating the Aeneid and why, although we know little about Virgil as a man, his great poem’s take on the violence and power struggles it depicts is deeply ambivalent.
The Best Trojan War Books, recommended by Stephen Fry
The tale of the Trojan War—its causes, its heroes, the wooden horse, the gods and goddesses who dramatically change the course of events—has fascinated us down the ages and is embedded in our collective imagination. But where do the stories come from? British author and actor Stephen Fry lists some of the books that were most useful for Troy, his retelling of the Trojan War.
Max Porter on the Books That Shaped Him
Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers, on the books that have taken him from childhood to adulthood, the deepening shadow of nuclear war, and why he’ll always be on his knees in front of Emily Dickinson
The Best Philosophy Books for Children, recommended by Peter Worley
What is fairness? What does it mean to be brave? Can you step in the same river twice? It is not only adults who can discuss philosophical issues. Peter Worley picks the best philosophy books for children
The best books on Living Prudently, recommended by Dr Charles Foster
Our culture tells us to follow our hearts, but self-deception can wreck lives. The therapist advocates a new model of prudence when it comes to major life choices, and recommends reading that illustrates his advice
The Greats of Classical Literature, recommended by Charlotte Higgins
The Guardian’s chief arts writer, Charlotte Higgins, believes that the contemporary value of the Classics is incalculable – here, she tells us why, via her selection of the great and good of classical literature.
The best books on Love, War, and Longing, recommended by Janine di Giovanni
War reporter tells us that her life is permeated with sense of loss and longing. She quotes her heroine Martha Gellhorn: “I have a sudden notion of why history is such a mess. Human beings do not live long enough”