What does it mean to retranslate ancient classics for a present in crisis and to produce feminist translations of works understood as iconically male? Maria Dahvana Headley (whose new Beowulf has just appeared) and Emily Wilson (translator of The Odyssey, now at work on The Iliad) joined LTAC Director Susan Bernofsky for a far-ranging conversation on the radical practice of making translation a space of resistance and joy.
Maria Dahvana Headley is a #1 New York Times-bestselling author of the novels Magonia, Aerie, Queen of Kings, and - most recently - The Mere Wife, a retelling of Beowulf set in the suburbs and featuring a military veteran as Grendel’s mother. She is also the author of the memoir The Year of Yes.
Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Emily Wilson, who teaches classics and literature at the University of Pennsylvania, has published translations of Seneca and Euripides as well as Homer, and has written a biography of Seneca and other scholarly works. She tweets about The Odyssey at @EmilyRCWilson.
This event was part of Translating the Future, a conference co-sponsored by the PEN Translation Committee, the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and the Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center.