David B. Lurie

David B. Lurie

Research Interest

Educational Background

BA: Harvard University (’93)
MA: Columbia University (’96)
PhD: Columbia University (’01)

Interests and Research

In addition to the history of writing systems and literacy, David Lurie’s research interests include: the literary and cultural history of premodern Japan; the Japanese reception of Chinese literary, historical, and technical writings; the development of Japanese dictionaries and encyclopedias; and the history of linguistic thought. Professor Lurie’s first book investigated the development of writing systems in Japan through the Heian period. Entitled Realms of Literacy: Early Japan and the History of Writing, it was awarded the Lionel Trilling Award in 2012. He is currently preparing a new scholarly monograph, tentatively entitled The Emperor’s Dreams: Reading Japanese Mythology. Along with Haruo Shirane and Tomi Suzuki, he was co-editor of the Cambridge History of Japanese Literature (2015), to which he contributed chapters on myths, histories, gazetteers, and early literature in general.

Areas: Japanese History and Literature, Technology of Language in Premodern Japan

Classes Taught

  • ASCE UN1361 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Japan
  • CPLS GU4111 World Philology
  • HSEA GR9875 Graduate Seminar in the Cultural History of Premodern Japan

Selected Publications

“Japanese Lexicography from ca. 1800 to the Present,” in The Cambridge World History of Lexicography, ed. John Considine, Cambridge University Press, 2019

“Parables of Inscription: Some Notes on Narratives of the Origin of Writing,” History and Theory 56, December 2018

Realms of Literacy: Early Japan and the History of Writing (Harvard University Asia Center, 2011)

“The Development of Japanese Writing,” in The Shape of Script: How and Why Writing Systems Change (SAR Press, 2012)