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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge
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    Professor Kiernan Ryan

    Murray Edwards College
    Huntingdon Road
    CB3 0DF

    Emeritus Fellow in English

    Emeritus fellow

    No Cambridge College is more welcoming, supportive and forward-looking than Murray Edwards College. No Cambridge College provides more inspirational teaching and scholarship, or fosters an academic culture more committed to the achievement of intellectual excellence by students and Fellows alike. It's a privilege to have taught here, and an honour to be an Emeritus Fellow of the College.

    Degrees and honours

    • MA (Cantab)
    • PhD (Amsterdam)
    • Emeritus Fellow of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge
    • Founding Fellow of the English Association
    • Emeritus Professor of English Literature, Royal Holloway, University of London
    • Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford

    Research interests

    • Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature
    • Contemporary British Fiction
    • Literary Theory


    A graduate of Christ's College, Cambridge, Kiernan Ryan began his research and teaching career at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and taught at the University of Geneva and Wadham College, Oxford before taking up the post of Fellow and Director of Studies in English at New Hall (1981-97). He was appointed Professor of English Language and Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London in 1997, a position he held until his retirement as Emeritus Professor of English Literature in 2016.

    Professor Ryan's publications include King Lear: Contemporary Critical Essays (1993), Ian McEwan (1994), New Historicism and Cultural Materialism (1996), Shakespeare: The Last Plays (1999), Shakespeare: Texts and Contexts (2000), Shakespeare (3rd edition, 2002), Shakespeare's Comedies (2009), Shakespeare's Universality: Here's Fine Revolution (2015) and the Introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of King Lear (2015). His latest book is Shakespearean Tragedy (Bloomsbury, 2021).

    Online essays and blogs

    British Library - An introduction to Shakespearean Tragedy

    British Library - Hamlet and Revenge

    British Library - Racism, misogyny and ‘motiveless malignity’ in Othello

    British Library - Sovereignty and subversion in King Lear

    British Library - Manhood and the ‘milk of human kindness’ in Macbeth 

    Oxford University Press blog - Seditious Shakespeare: beyond hierarchy 

    Société Française Shakespeare - The Theatre of the Invisible-Made-Visible: Shakespeare and the Politics of Perception