Sterling Professor of Japanese Literature
Ed McClellan, M.A. St. Andrews University, Scotland, Ph.D. The University of Chicago, faculty member at Yale since 1972: although you have often been identified with a much-honored generation of scholars of Japan who shaped and led new programs in Japanese studies in America’s best universities in the post-war decades, you stand out from your peers in several respects. The breadth and depth of your traditional undergraduate education in the humanities put an intellectual stamp on your teaching and writing that none of your contemporaries could emulate. Your literary erudition and deep understanding of Japan’s past and present also distinguish your work as a translator, marking you as a man of humane letters, rather than simply a specialist on Japan. Your translation of novels by Soseki and Shiga, and your other books, such as Woman in the Crested Kimono, have earned innumerable accolades and have led to your election as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and, in Japan, to the awarding of the Kikuchi Kan Prize, the Noma Literary prize, and, in 1998, the Imperial order of the Rising Sun, with Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.
Since you arrived at Yale in the seventies, you have been the teacher of a near legendary course on the modern Japanese novel. Your weekly graduate seminars have been equally legendary marathons of reading and discussion that have served as the fount of a new generation of leaders in this field. Your former students hold professorships in virtually every American university with a serious commitment to Japanese studies, including Harvard, Columbia, Michigan, Chicago, UC Berkeley—and Yale. About your translations the late distinguished critic Eto Jun said that “your judgment was so extremely correct that, at times, these novels [were] much easier for [him] to understand when [he] read them in [your] English.” In tribute to such achievements and to your many other accomplishments, the Yale College faculty collectively bows in respect and wishes you a happy retirement.
Tribute Editor: Penelope Laurans