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6 must-read books written by the 2019 MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant Winners

See the acclaimed works produced by this year's MacArthur Fellows, which include genre-bending novels, graphic nonfiction, and new takes on the classics.

The Odyssey, translated by classicist and translator Emily Wilson

From the MacArthur Foundation: Wilson is honored for “bringing classical literature to new audiences in works that convey ancient texts’ relevance to our time and highlight the assumptions about social relations that underlie translation decisions.”

Emily Wilson, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is the first woman to translate Homer’s The Odyssey into English; she is currently working on translating The Illiad. Wilson has previously translated Seneca’s Six Tragedies and the four tragedies of Euripedes. She is also the author of Mocked with Death: Tragic Overliving from Sophocles to Milton; The Death of Socrates: Hero, Villain, Chatterbox, Saint; and The Greatest Empire: A Life of Seneca. Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey is unique in that it turns the original Greek dactylic hexameter into iambic pentameter, the most popular meter in English poetry. Richard F. Thomas, the George Martin Lane Professor of the Classics at Harvard University, calls it “a staggeringly superior translation – true, poetic, lively and readable, and always closely engaged with the original Greek – that brings to life the fascinating variety of voices in Homer’s great epic.

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