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Collection Overview

Keeley, Edmund.
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Edmund Keeley Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1910-2013 (mostly 1960-2011)
278 boxes, 12 items, and 134.8 linear feet
Storage Note:
This is stored in multiple locations. Firestone Library (mss): Boxes 1-76; 78-216; B-000067; B-000068; B-000069; B-000070; B-000071; B-000072; B-000073; B-000074; B-000075; B-000076; B-000077; B-000078; B-000079; B-000080; B-000081; B-001459; B-001460; B-001461; B-001462; B-001463; B-001464; B-001465; B-001466; B-001467; B-001468; B-001469; B-001470; B-001471; B-001472; B-001473; B-001474; B-001475; B-001476; B-001477; B-001478; B-001479; B-001480; B-001481; B-001482; B-001483; P-000144; B-001484; B-001485; B-001486; B-001487; B-001488; B-001489 ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 217-265
English Greek, Modern


Edmund Keeley (1928-) is an author, translator, and Charles Barnwell Straut Professor Emeritus of English at Princeton University, best known for his translations and writings on Greek poets C. P. Cavafy, George Seferis, Odysseus Elytēs and Giannēs Ritsos. The papers consist of Keeley's drafts and proofs of translations, fiction, and nonfiction, including novels, articles, essays, introductions, reviews, and other writings, as well as for works he edited, along with personal and professional correspondence, faculty material, files of the P.E.N. American Center and other institutions with which he was involved, awards and speeches, biographical materials, family papers, scrapbook and other printed materials, manuscripts of others, and photographs.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists of Keeley's early writings as a student (Princeton, Class of 1948); bound and loose drafts and galleys of novels; short fiction; nonfiction books; articles, essays, introductions, and reviews; awards and speeches; translations of modern Greek poetry; and works edited by Keeley. The writings include the following titles: The Libation (1958), The Gold-hatted Lover (1961), Modern Greek Poetry (1983), School for Pagan Lovers (1993); translations of C. P. Cavafy's Passions and Ancient Days (1971) and Collected Poems (1975), Giannēs Ritsos' Ritsos in Parentheses (1979–the only time these poems were published), and Odysseus Elytēs' Selected Poems (1981). There is literary, academic, organizational, and personal correspondence with internationally-known colleagues and personal friends, such as R. P. Blackmur, Babette Deutsch, Kimon Friar, Carolyn Kiser, William Meredith, W. S. Merwin, Joyce Carol Oates, Giannēs Ritsos, George Seferis, Angelos Sikelianos, Wallace Stegner, Charles Scribner, and Willard Thorp; and with organizations such as the American Farm School, the Modern Greek Studies Association, and the Poetry Society of America, as well as many others.

Faculty material includes translation workshops Keeley taught at Columbia, Princeton, and the State University of Iowa; alumni, committee, and interdepartmental correspondence within various programs at Princeton; and student papers, course outlines, lecture notes, course-related forms, and computerized student grades. The P.E.N. American Center files primarily reflect the years of Keeley's presidency (1992-1993), but span from 1969 to 1990 and include his membership on the executive board in 1980. They include board meeting minutes, memos, correspondence, and P.E.N. international congress material. Also included are Keeley's scrapbook items, miscellaneous notes, manuscripts of translations by others, audiotapes of music by Mikis Theodorakis and readings of poems by Giannēs Ritsos, as well as printed matter.

Additional papers that were acquired from Keeley after his original gift are arranged by accession in Series 10 and 11 and include additional writings, correspondence, faculty papers, P.E.N. American Center materials, family papers, personal documents, memorabilia, photographs, and other materials that compliment many of the existing series. These additions include materials related to Albanian Journal, the Road to Elbasan, Borderlines, A Memoir, "The Grand Tour" (unpublished), On Translation: Reflections and Conversations, The Salonika Bay Murder, Cold War Politics and the Polk Affair, School for Pagan Lovers, and Some Wine for Remembrance, translations of Greek poets, and anthologies Keeley edited, including A Century of Greek Poetry, 1900-2000 and W. W. Norton's The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present.

Collection Creator Biography:

Keeley, Edmund.

Edmund (Mike) Leroy Keeley, author, translator, educator, critic, and administrator, was born in Damascus, Syria, on February 5, 1928, one of three sons of James Hugh Keeley, an American diplomat. When he was three, the family moved to Canada for five years. He lived in Greece from ages 8 to 11, receiving his primary education in Thessaloniki. In 1939, the family moved to Washington, D. C., where he attended high school. In 1948, Keeley earned a B. A. from Princeton University and was a Fulbright Scholar and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He went on to receive a Doctorate in Comparative Literature from Oxford University in 1952. While at Oxford, he met and married Mary Stathatos-Kyris, a Greek woman, with whom he later collaborated on several translation projects.

Keeley returned to Greece as a Fulbright teacher of English at the American Farm School from 1949 to 1950. He was an instructor of English at Brown University from 1952 to 1953, and, the following year, instructor of English at Salonika University.

The year 1954 began Edmund Keeley's long and productive career at Princeton University. From 1954 to 1957, he was an instructor of English. In 1957, he became an assistant professor, holding that position until 1963, when he was promoted to associate professor. In 1970, he became a full professor of English and creative writing, continuing in that capacity until his retirement in 1993.

Edmund Keeley was co-chairman of the program in comparative literature (1964 to 1965) and chairman of the Hellenic Studies Program (1985). During his career at Princeton Keeley held directorships in the Creative Arts Program (1966 to 1971), the Creative Writing and Theatre Program (1971 to 1973), and the Creative Writing Program (1974 to 1981). In addition to his full schedule at Princeton, Keeley held various offices outside of Princeton's walls. He was president of the Modern Greek Studies Association (MGSA) from 1970 to 1973, and from 1980 to 1981. From 1977 to 1979, he was vice-president of the Poetry Society of America, and he was president of P.E.N. American Center from 1992 to 1993.

Keeley has received considerable recognition for many of his six novels, fourteen volumes of poetry in translation, and five volumes of nonfiction. His first novel, The Libation, won him the Prix de Rome of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1959 and an honorable mention in the New Jersey Author's Award the following year. His translation in Six Poets of Modern Greece, which he edited with Philip Sherrard, won the Guiness Poetry Award in 1962. Keeley captured the New Jersey Author's Award two more times: in 1968 for George Seferis: Collected Poems, 1924-1955, and for his third novel, The Impostor, in 1970. In 1973 he was named a Guggenheim Fellow for the second time, having received his first Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing in Fiction in 1959. C. P. Cavafy: Selected Poems was nominated for a National Book Award in Translation, also in 1973. Other awards which Keeley won are the Columbia University Translation Center/P.E.N. Translation Award (1975), a grant from the Ingram Merrill Foundation (1976), the Harold Laudon Morton Translation Award of the Academy of American Poets (1980), the Behrman Award for distinguished achievement in the humanities (1982), the P.E.N./National Endowment for the Arts Fiction Syndicate Award (1983), and the Pushcart Prize Anthology Award (1984).

Other titles penned or translated by Keeley are The Gold-Hatted Lover (1961), Vassilis Vassilikos: The Plant, the Well, the Angel: A Trilogy (translated with Mary Keeley in 1964), Four Greek Poets (1970), C. P. Cavafy: Passions and Ancient Days (1971), Modern Greek Writers (1972), Voyage to a Dark Island (1972), Odysseus Elytēs: The Axion Esti (1972), C. P. Cavafy: Collected Poems(1975), Cavafy's Alexandria: Study of a Myth in Progress (1976), Modern Greek Poetry (1983), A Wilderness Called Peace (1985), and School for Pagan Lovers (1993).

Publications by Keeley: The Gold-Hatted Lover (Boston: Little, Brown, 1961), The Imposter (N.Y.: Doubleday, 1979), The Libation (N.Y.: Scribner's, 1958), School for Pagan Lovers (N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1993), Six Poets of Modern Greece (London: Thames & Hudson, 1960), Voyage to a Dark Island (N.Y.: Modern Literary Editions, 1972), A Wilderness Called Peace (N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 1985)

Collection History


Gift of Edmund Keeley in 1994 (AM 1994-105), with later additions from 1994 through 2014 (AM 1995-30, 1995-37, 1996-91, 2001-92, 2004-23, 2006-129, 2008-90, 2013-75, 2013-121).

Archival Appraisal Information:

No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Jennifer Bowden and Paul Koepp in 1996. Finding aid written by Jennifer Bowden and Paul Koepp in 1996. Series 11 was processed and added to the finding aid by Kelly Bolding in 2015, with assistance from Fiona Bell '18, Isabella Litke (GS), and Sophia Alvarez '18. Due to the complexity and size of later accessions, materials received after the original accession were arranged by accession in Series 10 and 11.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Edmund Keeley Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
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