Emily Wilson's Homer: Towards a Feminist Odyssey

Please Note: This seminar is a special 3-hour Saturday virtual offering. From the moment of its publication in 2017, Emily Wilson's translation of The Odyssey was famous for being the first English translation, by a woman, of the epic. While expanding possibilities for women translators is itself a laudable achievement, one of the truly exciting aspects of Wilson's translation is how she approaches questions of gender, misogyny, and consent in the text. Instead of taking for granted that men are heroes and women are supporting characters, Wilson's translation asks us to approach characters of different genders and levels of autonomy as (fictional) people in their own right. In this seminar, we will explore some of the ways that Wilson's translation opens up lines of inquiry relevant to today's students. We will compare some key passages with their counterparts in "standard" translations, and we will also discuss the ways that writers like Margaret Atwood and Louise Glück created their own feminist Odysseys before Wilson's translation was published.