Donald M. Frame  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

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


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

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

Personal life and views

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

Donald Frame was a recognized 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 the author of Gargantua and Pantagruel in 1977. A translation by Frame of Rabelais's complete works was published posthumously six months after his death.

Frame's translations were much admired during his own lifetime. More recent critics have been less generous. While The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation (2000) praises Frame's "accuracy," it also calls him "often obscure and awkward."

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