The Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson

A review for The Washington Post.

Attempting a new translation of “The Odyssey” is like directing “Hamlet.” Much of your audience knows the work well, and they take their seats with entrenched expectations and the intonations of favorite performances reverberating in their heads. At the same time, though, you will have audience members who have never seen the play, for whom you provide the introduction to a giant of Western literature. And let us not forget those who are there under duress, dreading the upcoming hours of boredom. You must find a way to speak to these disparate groups, sneaking past the defenses of the devotees while drawing in those less familiar. It’s an ambitious task, one that calls for skill, cleverness and strong nerves, qualities that define “The Odyssey’s” wily protagonist himself.

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