Donald M. Frame

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Donald M. Frame (1911 in Manhattan – March 8, 1991 in Alexandria, Virginia), a scholar of French Renaissance literature, was Moore Professor Emeritus of French at Columbia University, where he laboured for half a century.


Donald Murdoch Frame graduated from Harvard University in 1932 and earned a master's and a doctorate from Columbia University, writing his dissertation on Montaigne.

In World War II he served in the U.S. Navy.

Personal life and views[edit]

Frame married Katherine Mailler Wygant, who died in 1972; they had two sons. In a second marriage he wed Kathleen Whelan.

Frame's scrupulous scholarship and erudition were widely admired. On April 19, 1968, he gave a Phi Beta Kappa Lecture at Vassar College entitled "Montaigne on the Absurdity and Dignity of Man"; the title epitomizes his interpretation of the 16th-century author to whom he devoted so much of his life.

Published work[edit]

Donald Frame was a recognised authority on the works of Michel de Montaigne, whose Complete Works he published in translation in 1958. He also studied the works of François Rabelais, and published a book-length study of Gargantua and Pantagruel in 1977. A translation by Frame of Rabelais's complete works was published six months after his death. Frame also translated works by Moliere.[1]

Harold Bloom calls Frame the best modern Montaigne scholar.[2] While The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation (2000) praises Frame's accuracy, it also calls his translation "often obscure and awkward."[3]


  1. ^ Cook J (12 March 1991). "Donald Murdoch Frame, 79, Dies; Expert on Montaigne and Rabelais". New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Bloom H (2002). Genius. New York: Warner Books. p. 44. ISBN 0-446-52717-3. 
  3. ^ France, Peter. "Renaissance Prose: Rabelais and Montaigne." In France, Peter, ed. The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation. ISBN 0-19-818359-3, ISBN 978-0-19-818359-4. Oxford University Press, 2000.

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