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Emily Wilson: Translating the Classics

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Sep 26
Emily Wilson: Translating the Classics

Event Info

Event Date: 
Thursday, September 26, 2019 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY 10027

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Columbia College Academic Affairs
What specific challenges face re-translators of ancient, ultra-canonical, Graeco-Roman texts? How are these challenges different or similar to those of other literary translators? Why translate the Odyssey and Iliad into English yet again, when there have already been almost seventy translations into our language? Prof. Wilson will discuss her working process and goals as a translator (of Seneca, Sophocles, Euripides and Homer), from questions of verse form and meter, pacing, style, word choice to narrative perspective, focalization and point of view. She will discuss her vision of the Odyssey in particular, considering what this complex, magical, moving and absorbing text about identity, hospitality, cultural difference, war and the meanings of home might tell us about the task of the translator. Emily Wilson is a Professor in the Department of Classical Studies and Chair of the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. Her books include “Mocked with Death: Tragic Overliving from Sophocles to Milton” (Johns Hopkins 2005), "The Death of Socrates: Hero, villain, chatterbox, saint” (Harvard 2007), “The Greatest Empire: A life of Seneca” (Oxford UP, 2014), and a new translation of selected tragedies by Seneca, 2010. She is the Classics editor of the Norton Anthology of Western Literature, 2013, and the revised Norton Anthology of World Literature (third and fourth editions, fifth edition to come). She published The Greatest Empire: A life of Seneca, in 2014, and four translations of plays by Euripides in the Modern Library The Greek Plays (2016). Her verse translation of the Odyssey was published in November 2017. She is the editor and wrote the introduction of the first volume of the Bloomsbury History of Tragedy (Antiquity), forthcoming 2020. Her verse translation with introduction and supplementary material of Oedipus Tyrannus will appear as a Norton Critical Edition in 2020. She is at work on a new translation of the Iliad for Norton, as well as a book on translation (“Faithless”, Harvard UP), and a book on early modern receptions of antiquity (“Classics Reborn”, OUP).