1. Exquisite Tweets from @EmilyRCWilson

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    I’m glad @Pete__Simon insisted I should devise titles for the books of the Odyssey. I hope it helps draw the reader in.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    I got to hint at the beautiful juxtaposition of the magical and the mundane in 6; to remind readers of 9 not to skip the Cicones episode; to hint at a narrative arc without spoilers.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    The Lattimore translation goes much much further: it has titles for every page, summarizing the action. The summaries tend to focalize the action through Odysseus’ perspective.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    Some translations have no titles at all, like the Lombardo. You figure it out for yourself from the stark text.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    The Fitzgerald has lovely fairytale titles; I like “one more strange island”. The titles hint at reading Homer through chivalric / Arthurian romance: it’s about the beauty of ladies, witches and queens, all seen from hetero male perspective.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    The Fagles titles include many words for royalty he has (king/queen/ prince): they hint that this might be a poem about the restoration of a monarch. Also very striking to call 24 “peace”.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    Scholars debate whether the book divisions in Homer are themselves “original” (whatever that means), or the invention of Alexandrian editors.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    Obviously there are many viable approaches to titling, and many possible titles for each book. You can’t judge a book or a translation just by its titles, although people often do. Titling (or not titling) is just one of many significant, fun and interesting choices.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    I put the wrong photo for Fagles. Here are his, with the focus on royalty. He uses a lot of proper names, which I avoided “Bewitching queen” again focalizes through Odysseus.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson