Kenneth Muir

Kenneth Muir (1907-1996, matriculated 1926) was one of the most famous English Shakespeare scholars of the twentieth century.

After graduating from the Hall, he taught at St John’s College in York, then went on to the School of English at Leeds University from 1937-51, where he rose to the position of Senior Lecturer. He left Leeds to become King Alfred Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool, staying there until his retirement in 1974.

His publications, some of which have been translated into seven languages, include the first volumes in the New Arden series of King Lear and Macbeth, which have been through many editions, Shakespeare as Collaborator (1960), The Life and Letters of Sir Thomas Wyatt (1963), Shakespeare’s Tragic Sequence (1972), The sources of Shakespeare’s Plays (1977) and Shakespeare’s Comic Sequence (1979).

He edited Shakespeare Survey, the major journal in the field, from 1965-80, as well as serving as Chairman of the International Shakespeare Association.

Muir’s work as a translator of Racine was recognised with an honorary doctorate from Dijon, and he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1970.

He is remembered by colleagues and students alike not just as a great scholar and teacher, but for his talent as a Shakespearian actor and director. A collection of essays in his honour, Shakespeare’s Styles, edited by Philip Edwards, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1980. His papers, which include letters from Walter de la Mare and John Masefield, are held at the Special Collections in the University Library at Liverpool.