Early life 
Kirk was born and grew up in Nottingham, the son of Frederick Kirk, MC. Kirk was educated at Rossall School and Clare College, Cambridge. His time at Cambridge was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II; Kirk joined the Royal Navy in 1941 and was commissioned as an officer one year later.
Military service 
Kirk spent much of his service with the Levant Schooner Flotilla in the Aegean Sea, which included both schooners and caïques engaged in irregular operations supporting Allied special forces. Kirk fought on many Greek Islands and along a wide swath of the Turkish coast, engaged in operations at Tekegas Barnu, Didyma, Icaria and Andros. He was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) in 1945; after the war Kirk returned to Cambridge and graduated in 1946.
Academic career 
Kirk was awarded a research fellowship at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, later becoming a lecturer and Reader at Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1959 and served as its vice-president in 1972-3. Recognized as an acclaimed scholar worldwide, Kirk also held positions at Yale and Harvard within the United States. He became the 35th Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge in 1974, retiring there in 1982.
Later life 
Following his retirement Kirk produced a six-volume commentary on the Iliad, and updated his book "The Presocratic Philosophers" with J. E. Raven and M. Schofield.
Kirk married Barbara Traill in 1950, with whom he had a daughter, Lydia. In 1975 and he married Kirsten Ricks. He was supported by Lydia and his four stepdaughters through ill health before his death in 2003.
- Heraclitus, The Cosmic Fragments (1954)
- The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History with a Selection of Texts (1957) with J. E. Raven; a revised 2nd edition was published in 1983 with the help of Malcolm Schofield.
- The Songs of Homer (1962) later edited as Homer and the Epic (1965)
- The Language and Background of Homer - Some Recent Studies and Controversies (1964) editor
- Myth: Its Meaning and Functions in Ancient and Other Cultures (1970)
- The Nature of Greek Myths (1974)
- Homer and the Oral Tradition (1976)
- Archilochos (1977) with Michael Ayrton
- The Iliad: A Commentary (1985-93) six volumes, editor
|Regius Professor of Greek Cambridge University
1974 - 1982
Eric Walter Handley