Beloved Philhellene and scholar Edmund Keeley passed away at age 94

Edmund Keeley

Renowned scholar, translator and philhellene Edmund Keeley passed away on February 23 at age 94.

Also a preeminent essayist and poet, Keeley was responsible for many people's first encounter with the works of major Greek poets through his translations into English, faithful to the spirit of the originals.

These translations includes the work of George Seferis, Odysseas Elytis, Constantine Cavafy, Yiannis Ritsos and Angelos Sikelianos.

He also held multiple prizes for his work, both fiction and translation.

Edmund Keeley in 1996.
Edmund Keeley in 1996.

The son of a diplomat, born to American parents in Damascus in 1928, Keeley spent his childhood and youth in Syria, Canada, and in Greece during the interwar period when his father was the American consul in Thessaloniki, before returning to the US.

An alumnus of both Princeton and Oxford Universities, Keeley taught English and creative writing at Princeton, where he also created the Modern Greek Studies Association in 1968.

He also served on the editorial boards of journals Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies, Translation Review, and The Journal of Modern Greek Studies.

Pre-eminent Hellenist, translator and author Edmund Keeley dies at age 94 |

In a statement on Keeley's passing, Greek Culture & Sports Minister Lina Mendoni said that "For Keeley, Greece was more than just a country he got to know well and lived in: It was his second home."

"We say goodbye to him as a Greek, with tremendous respect to his important work and to his great contribution to the spread of Greek culture," she added.

READ MORE: AEGINA: Temple of Aphaia to be illuminated like never before.


  • 1959 Rome Prize American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • 1959 Guggenheim Fellowship
  • New Jersey Authors Award:
    • 1960 For the novelThe Libation(Citation)
    • 1968 ForGeorge Seferis: Collected Poems, 1924-1955
    • 1970 For the novelThe Impostor
  • 1962 Guinness Poetry Award selection
  • 1972 Guggenheim Fellowship
  • 1973 National Book Award in Translation (finalist)
  • 1975 P.E.N.-Columbia University Translation Center Prize
  • 1980 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, Academy of American Poets
  • 1982 Howard T. Behrman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities
  • 1983 PEN/National Endowment for the Arts Fiction Syndicate Award
  • 1984-85 Pushcart Prize Selection
  • 1987 First European Prize for Translation of Poetry
  • 1992 National Translation Award (Citation)
  • 1994 Honorary Doctorate, University of Athens
  • 1999 Academy Award in Literature
  • 2000 PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation
  • 2000 Criticos Prize, London Hellenic Society
  • 2001 Commander of the Order of the Phoenix
  • 2003 The Yale Review Prize
  • 2003 Trustees' Annual Award, Gennadius Library
  • 2004 Phidippides Award
  • 2006 Honorary Doctorate, Richard Stockton College
  • 2008 Dido Sotiriou Cultural Prize, Hellenic Authors' Society
  • 2008 Lord Byron Award, Hellenic College
  • 2010 Honorary Doctorate, University of Cyprus
  • 2014 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, for co-translator ofDiaries of Exileby Yannis Ritsos


  • The Libation. Charles Scribner's & Sons. 1958.
  • The Gold-hatted Lover. Little, Brown and Company. 1961.
  • The Imposter. Doubleday. 1970.
  • Voyage to a Dark Island. Curtis Books. 1972.
  • Problems in rendering Modern Greek. 1975.
  • Cavafy's Alexandria: Study of a Myth in Progress. Harvard University Press. 1976.
  • Ritsos in Parentheses. Princeton University Press. 1979.
  • A Wilderness Called Peace. Simon & Schuster. 1985. ISBN0-671-47416-2.
  • The Salonika Bay Murder, Cold War Politics and the Polk Affair. Princeton University Press. 1989. ISBN9780691055657.
  • School for Pagan Lovers. Rutgers University Press. 1993. ISBN0-8135-1935-7.
  • Albanian Journal, the Road to Elbasan. White Pine Press. 1997. ISBN1-877727-76-8.
  • On Translation: Reflections and Conversations. Harwood Academic Publishers. 1998.
  • Inventing Paradise. The Greek Journey, 1937-47. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1999. ISBN9780374177171.
  • Some Wine for Remembrance. White Pine Press. 2002. ISBN1-893996-15-8.
  • Borderlines, A Memoir. White Pine Press. 2005. ISBN1-893996-33-6.
  • The Megabuilders of Queenston Park. Wild River Books. 2014. ISBN 978-0-9839188-4-4
  • Requiem for Mary. Greenhouse Review Press. 2015. ISBN 978-0-9838094-2-5
  • The Problem of Time and Other Poems.Greenhouse Review Press. 2018. ISBN 978-0-9838094-4-9

Editor and translator

  • Six Poets of Modern Greece(With Philip Sherrard) Alfred A. Knopf, 1961
  • Vassilis Vassilikos, 'The Plant,' 'The Well,' 'The Angel': A Trilogy(With Mary Keeley) Knopf, 1964.
  • Four Greek Poets(With Philip Sherrard) Penguin Books, 1965
  • George Seferis, Collected Poems: 1924-1955(With Philip Sherrard) Princeton University Press, 1967 - ISBN 0-691-01300-4
  • C. P. Cavafy, Passions and Ancient Days(with George Savidis) Hogarth Press, 1972 ISBN 0-7012-0351-X
  • Modern Greek Writers: Solomos, Calvos, Matesis, Palamas, Cavafy, Kazantzakis, Seferis, Elytis(With Peter Bien) Princeton University Press, 1972
  • C. P. Cavafy, Selected Poems(With Philip Sherrard) Princeton University Press, 1972
  • Odysseus Elytis, The Axion Esti(with George Savidis) Pittsburgh University Press, 1972
  • C. P. Cavafy, Three Poems of Passion(with George Savidis) Plain Wrapper Press, 1975
  • C. P. Cavafy, Collected Poems(With Philip Sherrard and George Savidis) Princeton University Press, 1975, revised edition, Princeton University Press, 1992. - ISBN 0-691-01537-6
  • Angelos Sikelianos, Selected Poems(With Philip Sherrard) Princeton University Press, 1979
  • Odysseus Elytis, Selected PoemsViking-Penguin, 1981 - ISBN 0-670-29246-X
  • The Dark Crystal: An Anthology of Modern Greek Poetry(With Philip Sherrard) Denise Harvey & CO, 1981
  • Voices of Modern Greece: Selected Poems of C.P. Cavafy, Angelos Sikelianos, George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis, Nikos Gatsos(With Philip Sherrard) Princeton University Press, 1981 - ISBN 0-691-01382-9
  • Yannis Ritsos, Return and Other PoemsParallel Editions, 1983
  • C. P. Cavafy, A Selection of Poems(with Philip Sherrard) Camberwell Press, 1985
  • Yannis Ritsos, Exile and Return: Selected Poems, 1967-74Ecco Press, 1985
  • The Legacy of R.P. Blackmur: Essays, Memoirs, Texts(with Edward T. Cone and Joseph Frank) Ecco Press, 1987ISBN 0-88001-152-1
  • Yannis Ritsos: Repetitions, Testimonies, ParenthesesPrinceton University Press, 1991 ISBN 0-691-01908-8
  • The Essential Cavafy(With Philip Sherrard) Ecco Press, 1995 - ISBN 0-691-01491-4
  • George Seferis, Collected Poems, (With Philip Sherrard) Princeton University Press, 1995
  • George Seferis and Edmund Keeley: Correspondence, 1951-1971Princeton University Library, 1997 ISBN 0-87811-042-9
  • A Century of Greek Poetry 1900-2000: Bilingual Edition(with Peter Bien, Peter Constantine, and Karen Van Dyck) Cosmos Publishing, 2004 - ISBN 1-932455-00-0
  • Selected Poems Of Odysseus Elytis(with Philip Sherrard) Anvil Press, 2007 ISBN 0-85646-355-8
  • The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present(co-editor) W. W. Norton, 2009
  • ″Angelos Sikelianos: Selected Poems″,(with Philip Sherrard), second bilingual edition, Denise Harvey (publisher), 1996, ISBN 960-7120-12-4