Keesey, Don (1937-2022)

Keesey, Don (1937-2022)

Date Updated



English and Humanities

Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

Michigan State University, 1964 Ph.D.

Michigan State University, 1960 M.A.

Miami University, Oxford Ohio, 1959 B.A.

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University, 1965-2006

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 1963-1965

Michigan State University, 1961-1963

Administrative and Professional Experience

Associate Dean, Humanities and Arts, 1985-1987

Graduate Coordinator, English, 1990-2001

Academic Senator, three terms

Selected Publications

"Contexts for Criticism, " 4th ed. New York, McGraw-Hill, 2003

Against Theory. "Philosophy and Literature," 10 (1986)

The Difficulties of Reader-Response Criticism. "The Journal of Literary Theory," 5 (1985): 15-25

The Distorted Image: Swift's Yahoos and the Critics. "Papers on Language and Literature," 15 (1979): 320-32

Aristotle's Catharsis. "The Classical World," 72 (1978): 193-205

Personal Commentary

When San Jose State celebrated its 150 years in 2006, I was moved to check the records, and I discovered that I hadn't been teaching there quite that long. Still, I had a lengthy run, and a lucky one. I was lucky to come into the CSU at a time when it was the nation's leader in providing high-quality and low-cost education to middle- and working-class students. I was lucky to find many collegial colleagues and benign administrators, not only in English and Humanities but across the campus. I was lucky to have countless students whose level of maturity and interest made discussing literature a pleasure. Above all, I was lucky to have a job where I got paid to read books and talk about them. I got into university teaching because I couldn't think of anything I'd rather do. Forty years on, I still couldn't. For me, it was the ideal union of vocation and avocation.

Date Completed: August 28, 2009


Keesey, Don (1937-2022)