'Welcoming the Stranger: Translating the Odyssey for our times'

Professor Emily Wilson to give Luther College Opening Convocation address Aug. 30

With themes of violence, wealth, power, family, hospitality and a desire for the comfort and safety of home, Homer's "The Odyssey" has stood the test of time and continues to challenges minds of every generation. Emily Wilson, who is the first known woman to pen a complete translation of "The Odyssey" in English, will give the Luther College Opening Convocation address Thursday, Aug. 30.

Convocation begins at 9:40 a.m. in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall on the Luther campus and is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Wilson will present "Welcoming the Stranger: Translating the Odyssey for our times." In the translator's notes of "The Odyssey," Wilson explores the idea that there is a stranger lurking in everyone. Rather than run from the stranger or fear the unknown, she encourages readers to look past the façade, resist the urge to question its existence and listen carefully to what it has to say. She will discuss how embracing fear relates to current events and the start of a new academic year.

"The Odyssey," originally written by Homer in the eighth century B.C. and translated by Wilson, is the 2018 Paideia summer reading choice. "The Odyssey" follows Greek hero Odysseus on his 10-year expedition back to Ithaca after the fall of Troy and the struggle his son, Telemachus, and wife, Penelope, experience finding news of Odysseus' fate after the Trojan War. One of the oldest examples of Western literature, "The Odyssey" is the sequel to he "Iliad," which focuses on the 10-year Trojan War.

A professor of classical studies and graduate chair of the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wilson has a passion for the classics. She's the author of three books: "Mocked with Death: Tragic Overliving with Sophocles to Milton," "The Death of Socrates: Hero, Villain, Chatterbox, Saint" and "The Greatest Empire: A Life of Seneca."

In addition to "The Odyssey," Wilson has translated "Six Tragedies" and "The Greek Plays."

Her translation of "The Odyssey," has been praised in the academic world as a balance between honoring Homer's pace and intention and bringing a fresh voice to the ancient text. Said Wyatt Mason of The New York Times Magazine, "When I first read these lines early this summer in The Paris Review, which published an excerpt, I was floored. I'd never read an 'Odyssey' that sounded like this. It had such directness, the lines feeling not as if they were being fed into iambic pentameter because of some strategic decision but because the meter was a natural mode for its speaker."

A native of Oxford, United Kingdom, Wilson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Literae Humaniores, classical literature and philosophy from Balliol College in 1994. She went on to garner a master's degree in English literature from Corpus Christi College in Oxford in 1996 and a Ph.D. in classical and comparative literature from Yale University in 2001. Wilson was named a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome in Renaissance and early modern scholarship in 2006. Wilson has been a professor at the University of Pennsylvania since 2005.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.