Bizarre, brutal and beautiful, Homer’s The Odyssey is a story of adventure and revenge. It’s one of our oldest stories and an enduring source of obsession for readers, scholars and storytellers.
In Australia, if you studied The Odyssey at school or at university, you probably read it in English and in prose. How much of the rhythm, pace and spirit of Homer’s epic Greek poem has been lost through dozens of English translations over hundreds of years? And what can a new, radical intervention from a different kind of translator bring to our understanding of the story?
Classicist Emily Wilson is the author of an immersive translation that breathes new life into The Odyssey. Written in startling, spirited verse, Wilson’s Odyssey soars and sings. At the centre of all the action is, of course, the sacker of cities and slayer of suitors, Odysseus himself. In Wilson’s telling, our hero is introduced as ‘a complicated man’; a figure of many moods and layers.
In May, this remarkable scholar – and the first woman to translate The Odyssey in English – will discuss translation, truth and complex heroes with Alison Croggon.