Murray Pittock

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Murray Pittock FRSE[1] (born 5 January 1962) is a British cultural historian, Bradley Professor of Literature at the University of Glasgow and Pro Vice Principal (Special Projects) at the University, where he was previously Vice Principal, Head of the College of Arts and Dean from 2009-15.

Previously he was Professor of Scottish and Romantic Literature and Deputy Head of Arts at the University of Manchester, becoming the first ever professor of Scottish Literature at an English university. He has also been a visiting fellow at universities worldwide including: New York University (2015), Notre Dame (2014), Charles University, Prague (2010); Trinity College, Dublin (2008); the University of Wales in advanced Welsh and Celtic studies (2002) and Yale (1998, 2000–01).[2]


Murray Pittock was born to Malcolm Pittock and Joan Maccormack (née Mould). He grew up in Aberdeen, attended Aberdeen Grammar School, and studied at University of Glasgow aged 16. His parents were both lecturers in English Literature at the University of Aberdeen), and he absorbed an interest in literature from an early age. As a toddler, he noted: “It’s the blasted drizzle puts the fever in my bones”, a misquote from Rudyard Kipling’s Mandalay.[3]

Education and academia[edit]

Pittock received an M.A. from the University of Glasgow, then won the Snell Exhibition to study at Balliol College, Oxford where he completed his D.Phil.[4] At Balliol he was (with Boris Johnson) Oxford University Debating Champion and a member of the British Isles Debating Team/ESU-USA Tour. In 2014 he gave the closing speech in favour of “This House believes in an independent Scotland”, at the 30th anniversary of the Worl Debating Championships’ at the University of Glasgow, shown online by STV.[5]

Pittock was appointed as a lecturer and then, reader, at the University of Edinburgh in 1989. He moved to Glasgow in 1996 to take up a chair in Literature at the University of Strathclyde, also serving as Head of Department. In 2003 Pittock moved to the University of Manchester as Professor of Scottish and Romantic Literature. He took up his current position at the University of Glasgow in 2010.

Academic work[edit]

Pittock's books deal with a variety of subjects including English, History, Irish Studies, Theology and Politics. However he is best-known for writing on the national identity of Scotland, and has spoken widely on identity and independence, appearing in the media in the UK and overseas over 700 times, including a five-part The Roots of Scottish Nationalism series on Radio 4. In 2014, the Notre Dame called him 'Scotland's leading public intellectual'. His book, The Road to Independence? Scotland Since the Sixties, was launched in Catalan with Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, in Port Olympic, Barcelona in 2008.[6]

Heis currently working on a three volume edition of The Scots Musical Museum for the Oxford Burns, funded by the AHRC and on a book, Culloden: The Battle in History, Historiography and Popular Memory for Oxford University Press, as well as a project on the development of the Enlightenment in Edinburgh locations, networks and institutions 1680-1750.[7]


As well as his career in Scotland and England, Pittock is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2004) and has been awarded or shortlisted for numerous prizes. He is one of few academics to have given a prize lecture at both the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the British Academy, where he gave Chatterton lecture in poetry in 2002.[8] In 2011-13, he also convened the National Champions’ Group, supporting the introduction and development of Scottish Studies in schools.[9]


  • The Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Romanticism (ed, 2011)
  • Robert Burns in Global Culture (ed, 2011)
  • Loyalty and Identity (co-ed, 2009)
  • The Myth of the Jacobite Clans: The Jacobite Army in 1745 (2009)
  • Scottish and Irish Romanticism (2008, corrected ed, 2011)
  • The Road to Independence? Scotland Since the Sixties (2008; 2nd ed, 2014)
  • James Boswell (2007)
  • The Reception of Sir Walter Scott in Europe (ed, 2007; corrected ed, 2014)
  • The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature (co-ed, 2006)
  • A New History of Scotland (2003)
  • James Hogg: The Jacobite Relics of Scotland, 2 volumes, (2002-3)
  • Scottish Nationality (2001)
  • Celtic Identity and the British Image (1999)
  • Jacobitism (1998)
  • Inventing and Resisting Britain (1997)
  • The Myth of the Jacobite Clans (1995, 2nd ed. 2009)
  • Poetry and Jacobite Politics in Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland (1994; paperback, 2006)
  • Spectrum of Decadence: The Literature of the 1890s (1993)
  • Clio's Clavers (1992)
  • The Invention of Scotland (1991)


  1. ^ "Murray Bio". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Professor Murray Pittock". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Mandalay". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Balliol College Archives & Manuscripts". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "World champions debate Scottish independence". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Independently Minded? A Conversation with Murray Pittock". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "AHRC major-funded project: 'Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century'". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "Chatterton Lectures on Poetry". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Denholm, Andrew. "Call for our politicians to unite on Scottish studies". Retrieved 2 January 2014.