Contents and Arrangement

Series 1: Writings, 1924-1994 March

97 boxes
Restrictions may apply. See Access Note.

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of Keeley's early notebooks during his undergraduate career at Princeton, including classes in economics, English, French, history, politics, German, religion, and philosophy. Early essays, poems, and writings are also from the Princeton years, dating 1947 to 1950, most notably, Keeley's bound senior thesis, "Method and Moral at Three in the Morning: F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Tradition," written in 1949.

Also found are loose and bound drafts, galleys, outlines, excerpts, and offprints of Keeley's novels (arranged alphabetically), including The Gold-Hatted Lover, The Grand Tour (never published), The Impostor, The Libation, School for Pagan Lovers, Voyage to a Dark Island (formerly titled Voyage to Antikythera), and A Wilderness Called Peace. Also included is correspondence relating to prepublication publicity, responses, and reviews.

Keeley's short fiction (arranged alphabetically by title), consists primarily of unpublished works, dating from 1950 through the 1980s. Included are English and Greek texts of an early play called And This, My Son (1950); duplicate copies and outlines of The Athenians, an unpublished composite of short stories in which Voyage to Antikythera was first born and later became a novel in its own right; uncorrected proofs of Cambodian Diary, an excerpt from A Wilderness Called Peace for Pushcart Prize IX; and revised manuscripts of The Education of Henry Newman: a Collection of Stories, another unpublished work. There are handwritten and typed manuscripts of Foggy Bottom; drafts, transcribed tapes, and a Xerox copy of Going to the Border, which appeared in the autumn 1988 issue of Antaeus; revised and unrevised drafts, incomplete manuscripts, and rejects of Home of the Brave (formerly titled Divided Loyalties); drafts of The Hurricane; excerpts of In the Cruel Month; a photocopied manuscript of A Kindness from Behind or Memoirs of a Georgetown Delinquent; outlines of Last Letters from Stalingrad; notes for The Masquerade; drafts of The Memoirs of a Young Barbarian (Bohemian) and My Education Among the Hops; notes and drafts of Nineteen Forty-Eight; manuscripts of Once in a Lifetime and One-downmanship; notes, drafts, and a revision of An Orchid for the Teacher; a draft and Xerox copy of The Substitute Repairman; notes and manuscript of Two Lovers and a Labyrinth; and notes and correspondence of Wild Herbs and Yoghurt.

Nonfiction books (alphabetically arranged) include a bound, unrevised manuscript of Cavafy and Seferis, the shortened title of Keeley's doctoral thesis at Oxford University. (Other bound copies of this thesis bear slightly altered working titles such as: Constantine Cavafy and George Seferis and Their Relation to Poetry in English, Constantine Cavafy and George Seferis: a Study of Their Poetry and its Relation to the Modern English Tradition, and Constantine Cavafy and George Seferis: a Study of Their Relation to the Modern English Tradition.) These titles, although essentially the same manuscript, are arranged alphabetically by their individual titles. Also included are original and corrected manuscripts, reviews, promotional material, galleys, and research of Cavafy's Alexandria: Study of a Myth in Progress; notes, drafts, correspondence, various revisions, corrections, a permissions agreement and indexing information, reviews, and corrected galley proofs of Modern Greek Poetry: Voice and Myth; a first draft, extra copies, notes, and related correspondence of The Passion of Vincent Millay; incomplete, original, final, and revised drafts, uncorrected proofs, the earliest outline, post-publication correspondence, clippings, documents, printed matter, readers' reports, research, copyright material, a Greek edition, interviews, legal correspondence, and possible titles for The Salonika Bay Murder. (Originally titled The George Washington Polk Affair, the folders containing early material bear the original title; those containing later drafts display the title change. However, all box labels display both titles.) Also included in the nonfiction books section is a typewritten draft of The Voices of Poetry: an Introduction.

When Keeley was not occupied writing a novel or translation of Greek poetry, he kept busy writing a great amount of articles, essays, introductions, and reviews. In all of this work Keeley stuck to a few narrow themes: literary figures, the majority of them Greek, such as Constantine Cavafy and George Seferis but also including Kingsley Amis, Lawrence Durrell, Robert Browning, and T. S. Eliot; Greece itself, such as Athens and Delphi; or translation, such as his article "Collaboration, Revision, and Other Less Forgivable Sins in Translation," which appeared in The Craft of Translation, published by the University of Chicago Press. His other work of this genre appeared in The New York Times, Grand Street, The Washington Post, Grolier's Encyclopedia, Holiday magazine, and The Modern Greek Studies Yearbook.

Edmund Keeley gave speeches and received awards from the late 1960s up to 1994, but this activity was concentrated in the 1980s. Among the awards Keeley received that are represented here are the Harold Morton Laudon Translation Award, which he received in March of 1980 for his translation of selected poems by Giannēs Ritsos, titled Ritsos in Parentheses; the Howard Behrman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities in May, 1982 (he gave the remarks for the same award in 1989 when his colleague, Robert Fagles, received it, and was its judge in 1992); and the first translation prize given by the European Festival of Poetry in Brussels on December 22, 1987, for Exile and Return: the Selected Poems, 1967-1974 by Giannēs Ritsos. Other awards which Keeley won, such as the Rome Prize in 1959 (for The Libation), the New Jersey Authors Award honorable mention in 1960, the New Jersey Authors Award in 1968 (for George Seferis: Collected Poems, 1924-1955), the P.E.N./Columbia University Translation Center Prize in 1975, and the P.E.N./National Endowment for the Arts Fiction Syndicate Award in 1983, are absent from Keeley's files. All of his speeches have a Greek flavor; typical examples of Keeley's subject matter are "Cavafy's Sensual City," a lecture delivered at the Hellenic-American Union on May 24, 1973; "Seferis and the 'Mythical Method'," delivered at the Symposium on Modern Greek Literature, Maryland University, on May 1, 1968; and "Modern Greek Poetry and the 'True Face of Greece'," given at a University of Melbourne conference in August, 1985.

This collection represents Keeley's entire career as a translator, from the 1960s to the 1990s. Included are files (arranged alphabetically by author) containing unrevised, revised, loose, and bound drafts, also pre-publication correspondence, galley proofs, notes, copyright permissions, publicity, reviews, printed copies, publisher's correspondence, advance copies, bibliographies, biographical notes, prefaces, Greek proofs, outlines, author's sets, newspaper clippings, interviews, reader's reports, binder copies, rejections, various translations, miscellaneous material, plate proofs, and setting copies for all or most of Keeley's works. There is a large amount of work on Constantine Cavafy (the first nine boxes), especially Collected Poems, which he translated with Philip Sherrard, but also includes Passions and Ancient Days (with George Savidis) and Selected Poems (with Philip Sherrard). The multiple drafts of all of Keeley's translations are usually not duplicates: each is a separate revision, depicting Keeley's concern with careful and accurate translation. Keeley devoted much time and effort to other Greek poets: Odysseus Elytēs (four boxes)—translating his Axion Esti with George Savidis, and publishing Selected Poems with Philip Sherrard; Giannēs Ritsos (seven boxes)—translating his Exile and Return: Selected Poems, 1968-1974, and his Repetitions, Testimonies, Parentheses; George Seferis (four boxes)—publishing Collected Poems with Philip Sherrard; Angelos Sikelianos (three boxes)—compiling with Sherrard the volume Selected Poems; and Vassilis Vassilikos—translating his The Monarch and The Plant, the Well, the Angel: a Trilogy, the latter of which Keeley did with his wife, Mary.

Keeley's editorial works include The Legacy of R. P. Blackmur, consisting of essays by various authors (arranged alphabetically), a list of author's addresses, and miscellaneous material; a volume of Conjunction devoted to Blackmur; a special Greek issue of Mediterranean Review in the summer of 1972; correspondence for Modern Greek Stories; and Modern Greek Writers, edited with Peter Bien, consisting of drafts, galley proofs, and correspondence, spanning the years 1969-1972.

Additional writings acquired after 1995 can be found in Series 10 and 11.


This series is arranged into nine subseries: Early School Notebooks, Early Essays, Poems, and Writings, Novels, Short Fiction, Nonfiction Books, Articles, Essays, Introductions, and Reviews, Awards and Speeches, Translations, and Editorial Works.

Collection History


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

The first part of the 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. New materials received and they were processed and arranged by accession in Series 12, and were added to the Finding Aid by Kalliopi Balatsouka in 2018-2019.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing 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.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Series 1: Writings; Edmund Keeley Papers, C0763, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Boxes 1-76; 78-99