Murray G. H. Pittock FRSE (born 5 January 1962) is a British cultural historian, Bradley Professor of Literature at the University of Glasgow and Pro Vice Principal at the University, where he was previously Vice Principal, Head of the College of Arts and Dean from 2009-15. He is currently engaged in leading on the Kelvin Hall development (kelvinhall.org.uk), the first phase of which was opened by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on 11 November 2016 and on other major projects on learning and teaching space and Glasgow's unique early career development programme.
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 held visiting appointments at universities worldwide in Celtic Studies, English, History, Languages and Equality and Diversity including: New York University (2015), Notre Dame (2014), Charles University, Prague (2010); Trinity College, Dublin (2008); Auburn (2006) the University of Wales in advanced Welsh and Celtic studies (2002) and Yale (1998, 2000–01).
Murray Pittock was born to Malcolm Pittock and Joan MacCormack. He grew up in Aberdeen, attended Aberdeen Grammar School, and studied at University of Glasgow aged 16. As a toddler, he noted: “It’s the blasted drizzle puts the fever in my bones”, a misquote from Rudyard Kipling’s Mandalay.
Education and academia
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. At Balliol he was (with Boris Johnson) Oxford University Debating Champion and a member of the British Isles Debating Team/ESU-USA Tour. He ran the Express Newspapers Scottish national debating competition in 1982-83 and has had a long media career with over 1250 appearances in some 50 countries. In 2014 he was described as 'Scotland's leading public intellectual'.
Pittock was appointed as a lecturer and then, reader, at the University of Edinburgh in 1989 and 1994, where he also had Faculty and University roles, including the corporate policy lead for the University's Scotland-related policies. He moved to Glasgow in 1996 to take up a chair in Literature at the University of Strathclyde, also serving as Head of Department, a member of the Governing Body and theme lead for Arts, Culture and Sport policy. In 2003 Pittock moved to the University of Manchester as Professor of Scottish and Romantic Literature and worked on the changes needed for the merger with UMIST in Arts. He moved to Glasgow in 2007.
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 Scotland, and has spoken widely on identity and independence. 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. His work attracts trust across the academic, cultural and political spectrum: in 2013 his Radio 4 series 'The Roots of Scottish Nationalism' attracted 81% UK wide approval and in 2016 his study of Culloden was chosen as one of the ten best history books of the year by History Today and was recommended by Conservative MP Keith Simpson for reading by all non-Scottish MPs. Pittock has been shortlisted for or won a number of literary prizes. He also serves as an adviser for many bodies, including the National Trust for Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery.
His 1350 page edition of the Scots Musical Museum is due out in 2017, and he is currently working on a full edition of Allan Ramsay's works and also a book, 'Edinburgh in the First Age of Enlightenment: How the City Changed its Mind' which uses innovation and current smart city theory on the geographical and social data from Edinburgh in 1680-1750.
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 the Chatterton lecture in poetry in 2002. In 2011-13, he also convened the National Champions’ Group, supporting the introduction and development of Scottish Studies in schools.
- Culloden (2016)
- The Reception of Robert Burns in Europe (ed, 2014)
- The Road to Independence ? Scotland in the Balance (2014)
- Material Culture and Sedition (2013)
- The Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Romanticism (ed, 2011)
- Robert Burns in Global Culture (ed, 2011)
- Loyalty and Identity (co-ed, 2010)
- 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)
- 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)
- Poetry and Jacobite Politics in Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland (1994; paperback, 2006)
- Spectrum of Decadence: The Literature of the 1890s (1993,reissued 2014, paperback 2016)
- Clio's Clavers (1992)
- The Invention of Scotland (1991, reissued 2014, paperback 2016)
- "Murray Bio". Debretts.com. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- "Professor Murray Pittock". Gla.ac.uk. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- "Mandalay". Poemhunter.com. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- "Balliol College Archives & Manuscripts". DArchives.balliol.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- "University of Glasgow - Colleges - College of Arts - Industry Engagement - Industry Sectors - Writing and Publishing". www.gla.ac.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
- "Independently Minded? A Conversation with Murray Pittock". Wp.iamone.co.uk. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- "The best history books of 2016 | History Today". www.historytoday.com. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
- "University of Glasgow - MyGlasgow - Campus e-News - Culloden study named in 2016 top ten". www.gla.ac.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
- "Chatterton Lectures on Poetry". Britac.ac.uk. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- Denholm, Andrew. "Call for our politicians to unite on Scottish studies". Heraldscotland.com. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- Centre for Robert Burns Studies
- Full text of doctoral thesis, "Decadence and the English tradition" via Oxford Research Archive