Victor Kiernan

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Professor Victor Gordon Kiernan (born 4 September 1913, Lancashire, England, UK – died 17 February 2009, Stow, Borders, Scotland) was a British Marxist historian and a former member of the Communist Party Historians Group with a particular focus on the history of imperialism ..

Kiernan was born in Ashton upon Mersey, Sale to Congregationalist lower-middle class parents. He studied at Manchester Grammar School, then at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1931–38, when, as a junior fellow, he went to India to teach at a Sikh school and at Aitchison College in Lahore. He returned to Trinity as a fellow in 1946. After two years there, he moved to the University of Edinburgh to take up a lectureship in 1948. He was appointed Professor of Modern History at Edinburgh in 1970; a position he held until his retirement in 1977.

Kiernan starred in the University of Edinburgh's Department of History film about the Spanish Civil War, which included reminiscences of Scots in the International Brigade such as Councillor Don Renton, John Dunlop and George Watters were preserved on tape and film.

He joined the Communist Party in 1934 and left in 1959, chiefly in disgust at the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, after which, he said: "I waited in hopes the party might improve. It didn't."

At the age of 80, he produced Shakespeare: Poet and Citizen. A second volume, Eight Tragedies of Shakespeare, followed in 1996.

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