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

Paperback | November 2, 2009

byDonald KeeneIllustratorAkira Yamaguchi

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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.

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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 absorbin...

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...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished: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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[Keene] shares and teaches, speaking in vignettes by turns wistful, forceful, and lyrical.... This slim volume [is] a pleasure to read.