Kiernan Ryan

Kiernan Ryan

Emeritus Professor of English Literature, Professor

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Personal profile

Personal profile

KIERNAN RYAN was educated at the University of Cambridge, winning a Scholarship to Christ’s College, where he took a First in English, and then moving to Corpus Christi College to teach and to undertake research on Renaissance literature. He was a lecturer at the University of Geneva and at Wadham College, Oxford before taking up the post of Fellow and Director of Studies in English at New Hall, Cambridge. He was awarded a doctorate by the Universiteit van Amsterdam in 1995. In 1997 he was appointed Professor of English Language & Literature and Head of Department at Royal Holloway, University of London; in the same year he was elected to an Emeritus Life Fellowship of New Hall (now Murray Edwards College). In 1999 he was made a Founding Fellow of the English Association. He became Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Royal Holloway in 2016. In 2017 the title of Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, was conferred on him by the University of Birmingham. He is a member of the International Shakespeare Association and a member of the editorial board of Shakespeare: Journal of the British Shakespeare Association.

Kiernan Ryan is the author of Shakespeare (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1989; 2nd ed., Prentice Hall, 1995; 3rd ed., Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), Ian McEwan (Writers & Their Work, Northcote House, 1994) and Shakespeare’s Comedies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), and he wrote the Introduction to the Penguin Shakespeare edition of King Lear (2005, reissued as a Penguin Classic in 2015). He is also the editor of King Lear: Contemporary Critical Essays (Macmillan, 1993), New Historicism and Cultural Materialism: A Reader (Edward Arnold, 1996), Shakespeare: The Last Plays (Longman, 1999) and Shakespeare: Texts and Contexts (Macmillan, 2000). His latest book is Shakespeare’s Universality: Here’s Fine Revolution, published in the Arden Shakespeare series by Bloomsbury (2015). His next book, Shakespearean Tragedy, will be published by Bloomsbury in Autumn 2019.

Professor Ryan has been invited to lecture on Shakespeare, literary theory and modern British fiction by universities throughout Europe (Germany, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland), in Egypt, Mexico and the United States. In 2012 he delivered the inaugural annual Public Shakespeare Lecture sponsored by the Abbey Theatre and University College Dublin; in 2013 he delivered the F.W. Bateson Memorial Lecture at Corpus Christi College, Oxford and the annual Public Shakespeare Lecture at the University of Hull; and in 2016 he gave the Special Anniversary Public Shakespeare Lecture at the University of Durham. Professor Ryan’s broadcasting experience includes contributions to BBC Radio 4 arts programmes, the Open University/BBC series, Shakespeare: Text and Performance, for which he was the editorial consultant, and the commentary for the BBC's live broadcast of Measure for Measure from the Globe. He has also written for The Guardian and been a regular book reviewer for the Independent on Sunday and the Times Higher Education Supplement.

Shakespeare's Universality: Here's Fine Revolution published 23 April 2015:

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions