Emily Wilson’s Translation of the Odyssey

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Cover of The Odyssey by Homer Translated by Emily WilsonI’ve been hearing about this book for a while now, and planning to read it. I last read the Odyssey decades ago, mainly because I regarded it as part of my education. Whichever translation it was, it was okay but not inspiring.

Finally, I got around to the Wilson translation. After reading the introduction of on my Kindle app, I switched to audio. This is actually the first audio book I’ve listened to, and it made a huge difference. Claire Danes did a great job of narrating it. It really felt like something I needed to hear rather than see, and some of the repetitiveness that might have been irksome in print was perfectly acceptable in audio.

I was also struck by the social and moral code underlying the story, some of which was discussed in the introduction. King of Liars is an honorific. So is Sacker of Cities. Everything depends on the favor of the gods, but while their favor can be courted – mainly by animal sacrifices – it is not reliably given. The King is very much the boss, until he’s dethroned and someone else takes over.

Reminds me a bit of the corporate sector…

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