John Kerrigan (literary scholar)

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John Kerrigan (born 1956) is Professor of English 2000, University of Cambridge.

John Kerrigan was born in Liverpool; he was educated there at St. Edward's College followed by Oxford where he went to Keble later becoming a Junior Research Fellow at Merton.

Since 1982 he has taught at Cambridge where he is a fellow of St. John's College. He has lectured extensively in Europe, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and his publications on Shakespeare, early modern literature, and modern British and Irish poetry are internationally acclaimed. Recent visiting positions include UCLA[1] and Auckland.[2]

During the 1980s Kerrigan established himself as one of a group of scholars who revolutionised the editing of Shakespeare by discrediting the practice of 'conflating' variant editions of such plays as Hamlet and King Lear. His own editions include Love's Labour's Lost (1982) and Shakespeare's Sonnets and a Lover's Complaint (1986). He did further work on A Lover's Complaint recovering its sources and analogues in Motives of Woe (1991). His recent Shakespearean output includes essays on 'The Phoenix and Turtle' (2013), an extensive analysis of the question 'How Celtic was Shakespeare?', and Shakespeare's Binding Language (2016).[3]

He won the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in 1998 for Revenge Tragedy: Aeschylus to Armageddon, an ambitious study in comparative literature, and in 2001 published a book of essays On Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature.

Over the last couple of decades John Kerrigan has published numerous essays on contemporary poetry, including Seamus Heaney, Roy Fisher, Geoffrey Hill, Denise Riley, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Paul Muldoon.[4]

His Archipelagic English: Literature, History, and Politics 1603-1707 (2008) seeks to correct the traditional Anglocentric account of seventeenth-century English Literature by showing how much remarkable writing was produced in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, and how preoccupied such English authors as Shakespeare, Milton, and Marvell were with the often fraught interactions between ethnic, religious, and national groups around Britain and Ireland. [5]

He has written extensively for the Times Literary Supplement (London) and the London Review of Books.[6]


  • William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost, ed. John Kerrigan (1982)
  • William Shakespeare, Sonnets and a Lover's Complaint, ed. John Kerrigan (1986)
  • John Kerrigan, Motives of Woe: Shakespeare and Female Complaint (1991)
  • John Kerrigan, ed. with Michael Cordner and Peter Holland, English Comedy (1994)
  • John Kerrigan, Revenge Tragedy: Aeschylus to Armageddon (1996)
  • John Kerrigan, ed. with Peter Robinson The Thing about Roy Fisher (2000)
  • John Kerrigan, On Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature: Essays (2001)
  • John Kerrigan, Archipelagic English: Literature, History, and Politics, 1603-1707 (2008)
  • John Kerrigan, Shakespeare's Binding Language (2016)


External links[edit]