With the publication of Emily Wilson’s Odyssey, the English-speaking world has further confirmation that it is undergoing a renaissance of sobriety and high seriousness in Homeric translation. This era began in 2015 with Caroline Alexander’s translation of the Iliad, a magisterial transmission of Homer’s unselfconscious—plain and direct, but not grandiose—elegance employing a line of flexible meter with mainly five to seven beats and a scrupulous rendering of each word in a format matching the original Greek text line by line. (See “A classic restored,” The New Criterion, May 2016). Wilson’s Odyssey rests on three principles. First, like Alexander and others, she strives for line parity with the original text. Second, she succeeds at the Heraclean labor of rendering...

 

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