Keene, Donald Lawrence

Keene, Donald Lawrence, 1922–2019, American scholar and translator, b. New York City, grad. Columbia (B.A. 1942, Ph.D. 1949). During World War II, he worked as a Navy interpreter and intelligence officer, specializing in Japanese, and after the war, he returned to Columbia and earned his doctorate, and taught there from 1955 to 2011 (professor emeritus from 1997). Keene published more than 50 books, in English and Japanese, on aspects of Japan's culture. He revealed the breadth of Japanese literature to an English-speaking audience in his Anthology of Japanese Literature from the Earliest Era to the Mid-Nineteenth Century (1955) and Modern Japanese Literature (1956), and he similarly introduced No drama, Bunraku, and other facets of Japanese cultural life. Among his other books are a multivolume history of Japanese literature, works on Japanese history and biography, and translations of modern Japanese writers. Keene settled permanently in Japan in 2011, becoming a Japanese citizen in 2012.

See his autobiography (1996) and his memoir, Chronicles of My Life (2008).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Scholars, Antiquarians, and Orientalists: Biographies