Edward L. Keenan

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Edward L. Keenan (born 1935) is Andrew W. Mellon professor emeritus of history at Harvard University. He works primarily on medieval Russia, especially the cultural and political history of Muscovy c. 1400 - c. 1600, Ivan IV and Semen Shakhovskoi, cultural and political relations between Muscovy and the Turkic peoples of Central Asia, and the origin of the Igor Tale.

Keenan is skeptical about the authenticity of a number of texts normally attributed to the Russian medieval period. His book The Kurbskii-Groznyi Apocrypha: The Seventeenth-century Genesis of the 'Correspondence' Attributed to Prince A. M. Kurbskii and Tsar Ivan IV (1973) claims these letters are forgeries. A more recent study, Joseph Dobrovsky and the Origins of the 'Igor Tale' (2003) argues this text - traditionally thought to be 12th century - was the work of the 18th century Bohemian linguist and scholar Josef Dobrovsky. This work has led to renewed interest and debate about the authenticity of the Igor Tale and gained mixed reviews.[1][2][3]

Keenan has served as Associate Director (1973–1975) and then as Director (1976–1977) of Harvard's Russian Research Center, and as Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies over a considerable period of time (1981–1983, 1986–1987, 1993–1994). He has also served as Director of The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library in Washington DC, and continues to serve on the Associate Committee.[4]


  1. ^ Franklin, S. (2005). "The Igor Tale: A Bohemian Rhapsody?" Kritika 6(4): 833-844. (Subscription Access Only)
  2. ^ Szarcyz, I. (2005). "Review of Josef Dobrovsky and the Origins of the Igor' Tale by Edward L. Keenan" Slavic Review 61 (1), Spring, pp. 218-19. (Subscription Access Only)
  3. ^ Чепа М.-Л.А. До проблеми ігнорування етнопсихологічної дистанції в культурно-історичних дослідженнях. режим доступу http://rechi-branni.narod.ru/htm/stattia_01.htm.
  4. ^ Rowland, Daniel. (2006), "Edward Keenan Not In Print", Canadian Slavonic Papers, September - December.

External links[edit]

- Harvard University Page on Professor Keenan