Daily News Portal

Peter Davison: A tribute

Tributes have been paid to a “kind-hearted and loyal” researcher at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), who has died at the age of 96.

Professor Peter Davison OBE was one of the world’s most respected scholars on the life and work of author George Orwell, while he also made great contributions to the study of Shakespeare.


Professor Davison, along with the help of his late wife Sheila, undertook the strenuous task of editing the 20 volume-set of Orwell’s Complete Works, published in 1998.

This work spanned his period of employment at the university (1993-2001), after which he became Emeritus Professor, providing invaluable knowledge and expertise to the research within English at DMU, still evident today.

Professor Deborah Cartmell, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research at DMU, said: “Peter was instrumental in the creation of a lasting research culture within DMU English and will be remembered as a most kind-hearted and loyal colleague, who generously contributed to English long after he left the university, providing an Impact Case Study in 2014”.

His kindness and support for young colleagues were fondly remembered by Gabriel Egan, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at DMU, and Professor Imelda Whelehan, now Dean of University of Western Australia’s Graduate School.

Dr Julian North, now Associate Professor, University of Leicester, said Professor Davison’s collegiality was ‘legendary’.

He said: ‘‘He once told me he’d honed his skills in Australia, lecturing to, amongst others, Clive James, Germaine Greer and Robert Hughes”.

Professor Davison taught first in Australia and returning to England by invitation, took a post at the Shakespeare Institute before becoming Professor of English at Lampeter and subsequently Kent and De Montfort Universities and Emeritus Professor of English at Wrexham Glyndwr University.

During his time at DMU his work received extensive praise  featuring in international press all over the globe : The Guardian (Stefan Collini, 4/7/98), The Times Higher (Eric Blair, 27/07/98), London Review of Books (Ian Hamilton, 07/98), The New York Review of Books (Timothy Garton-Ash, 22/10/98), The New Statesman (Bernard Crick, 17/07/98), The New Yorker (Clive James, 18/01/99), The Financial Times (Craig Raine,1/08/98), The Independent (D.J. Taylor, 4/7/98) and The Sunday Times (John Carey, 05/07/98).

His work was further commended in 1999 when he received an OBE from the Queen for his services to literature, then later in 2003, a Gold Medal by the Bibliography Society and in 2011 he was given an Award of Honorary and Founding Life Membership from the Orwell Society.

For many years he served as a warden at Westminster Abbey and for some years in retirement he was the Secretary of Albany.

Posted on Monday 22nd August 2022

Read More:Peter Davison: A tribute