Selected as a Best Book of 2023 by Bookshop staff. Don’t miss all of our Best of the Year titles here.
Five years after Emily Wilson’s acclaimed translation of The Odyssey first made literary waves, she has given us Homer’s companion piece, The Iliad, its war-torn, humans-in-a-crucible cousin. Refreshing once again, Wilson’s translation honors the intent of its original storyteller to tell a good story in his own time, by stripping away historical layers and language flourishes to get to its roots, the people, the conflict, the land. This Iliad is relatable, magnetic, enjoyable, and because of this, it is transcendent.— Melinda
One of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2023 • A Washington Post Best Book of the Year 2023 • One of Atlantic's Best Books of 2023 • One of Time's 100 Must-Read Books of 2023 • One of New Statesman's 2023 Books of the Year • One of Electric Literature's Best Poetry Collections of 2023
The greatest literary landmark of antiquity masterfully rendered by the most celebrated translator of our time.
When Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey appeared in 2017—revealing the ancient poem in a contemporary idiom that was “fresh, unpretentious and lean” (Madeline Miller, Washington Post)—critics lauded it as “a revelation” (Susan Chira, New York Times) and “a cultural landmark” (Charlotte Higgins, Guardian) that would forever change how Homer is read in English. Now Wilson has returned with an equally revelatory translation of Homer’s other great epic—the most revered war poem of all time.
The Iliad roars with the clamor of arms, the bellowing boasts of victors, the fury and grief of loss, and the anguished cries of dying men. It sings, too, of the sublime magnitude of the world—the fierce beauty of nature and the gods’ grand schemes beyond the ken of mortals. In Wilson’s hands, this thrilling, magical, and often horrifying tale now gallops at a pace befitting its legendary battle scenes, in crisp but resonant language that evokes the poem’s deep pathos and reveals palpably real, even “complicated,” characters—both human and divine.
The culmination of a decade of intense engagement with antiquity’s most surpassingly beautiful and emotionally complex poetry, Wilson’s Iliad now gives us a complete Homer for our generation.