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David Daiches Biography

(1912–2005), Literature and Society, Virginia Woolf, Robert Burns, Willa Cather, George Eliot: Middlemarch

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British critic, born in Sunderland; he grew up in Edinburgh, where he was educated at the University. After gaining his D.Phil. at Oxford in 1939, he held professorships at the University of Chicago and Cornell University. Having returned to Britain in 1951, he lectured at Cambridge before becoming Professor of English at the University of Sussex in 1961. A critic of unusual range, his works, which evaluate literature with reference to its broader social and cultural contexts, include Literature and Society (1938), Virginia Woolf (1942), Robert Burns (1950, revised edition 1966), Willa Cather (1951), and George Eliot: Middlemarch (1962). Notable among his historical and biographical studies is The Last Stuart: The Life and Times of Bonnie Prince Charlie (1973). He has also produced a highly regarded body of autobiographical writing in Two Worlds: An Edinburgh Jewish Childhood (1957), A Third World (1971), and Was (1975). Since the late 1960s he has published books on a wide variety of topics, which include Scotch Whisky: Its Past and Present (1969), Scotland and the Union (1977), and God and the Poets (1984).

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