David T. Roy, 1933-2016

Ryan Dunch's picture

Professor David Tod Roy, professor emeritus of Chinese literature at the University of Chicago, died in Chicago on Monday, May 30, 2016.

Professor Roy is best known for his 30-year five-volume English translation of the Chinese novel Jin ping mei (1618), published by Princeton University Press between 1993 and 2013 (Xiaoxiaosheng, The plum in the golden vase, or, Chin Pʻing Mei, translated by David Tod Roy [Princeton: Princeton University Press, c1993-2013]).

Born in Nanjing in 1933 to missionary parents, David Roy spent most of his early years in China. After a term of US military service in the Korea, Japan and Taiwan, Roy completed his studies at Harvard, then taught at Harvard and Princeton before joining the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1967, where he remained until his retirement in 1999.

No obituary seems to have appeared yet, but the Chinese press has taken note of Roy's passing, for example, Chen Weihua, "David Roy dies, was legendary translator of Chin P'ing Mei," in China Daily USA, May 31, 2016.

Earlier accounts based on Prof. Roy's own reminiscences of his life and scholarship can be found in "A Lifetime Fascination," Tableau, Fall 2013 and "My life: David Tod Roy," Post Magazine (South China Morning Post), 30 May 2014.

Also of note is this moving blog post from Katherine Alexander, then a PhD student at Chicago and research assistant to Prof. Roy:
Pray consult the story related in the following chapter, 2013/12/19

H-Asia welcomes reminiscences and tributes to Prof. Roy from readers.

Respectfully submitted,
Ryan Dunch

The Wikipedia artice David T. Roy also is useful, though in need of supplementation.