Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan by Donald KeeneChronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan by Donald Keene

Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan

byDonald KeeneIllustratorAkira Yamaguchi

Paperback | November 2, 2009

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"I sometimes think that if, as the result of an accident, I were to lose my knowledge of Japanese, there would not be much left for me. Japanese, which at first had no connection with my ancestors, my literary tastes, or my awareness of myself as a person, has become the central element of my life."

In this eloquent and wholly absorbing memoir, the renowned scholar Donald Keene shares more than half a century of his extraordinary adventures as a student of Japan. Keene begins with an account of his bittersweet childhood in New York; then he describes his initial encounters with Asia and Europe and the way in which World War II complicated that experience. He captures the sights, scents, and sounds of Japan as they first enveloped him, and talks of the unique travels and well-known intellectuals who later shaped the contours of his academic career.

Keene traces the movement of his passions with delicacy and subtlety, deftly weaving his love for Japan into a larger narrative about identity and home and the circumstances that led a Westerner to find solace in a country on the opposite side of the world. Chronicles of My Life is not only a fascinating tale of two cultures colliding, but also a thrilling account of the emotions and experiences that connect us all, regardless of our individual origins.

Donald Keene is Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature and University Professor Emeritus at Columbia University. He is the author of more than thirty books, including Frog in the Well: Portraits of Japan by Watanabe Kazan, 1793-1841; Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World; and Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion: The Creation of the So...
Title:Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of JapanFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pagesPublished:November 2, 2009Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231144415

ISBN - 13:9780231144414

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from One man's life an introduction to Japanese lit What a wonderful journey and what a wonderful life. Donald Keene traces the chains of his long life (he's now in his 90s) that lead from sitting next to a Chinese student in his youth to a life as one of the world's preeminent experts on Japanese literature (and quite the writer on culture and history as well). His life and his career and his friendships with modern writers like Yukio Mishima, as well as his focus on the history of Japanese literature, will have you taking copious note for your to-read list. Mine doubled - at least for Japanese fiction. A fun read and an insightful one - I'm already looking forward to tackling more of Keene's books. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-09

Editorial Reviews

[Keene] shares and teaches, speaking in vignettes by turns wistful, forceful, and lyrical.... This slim volume [is] a pleasure to read.