Papers of William Lindsay Renwick, 1889-1970, arts graduate, University of Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Essays and lecture notes, 1908-1913;
  • Menus, 1908-1912;
  • Presscuttings, 1907-1910;
  • Photograph album, 1907-1910.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Lindsay Renwick was born in Glasgow on 6 January 1889. His father, William Renwick, was an agent. William attended the University of Glasgow from 1907-1912, taking classes in Latin and Mathematics in his first year; English, Logic and History in his second; Moral Philosophy and Education in his fourth; English (Honours) and British History in his fifth, and English (Honours) in his sixth and final year. He came joint fourth in the Education (Ordinary) examination in 1910 and second in the English (Honours) examination in 1912. He graduated with an MA in June 1910 and was awarded postgraduate first class honours in English in October 1912. He was awarded a Clark scholarship in 1912 and subsequently studied French and Italian Literature at Toulouse, the Sorbonne and the British School in Rome. He then served as a Private with the Cameronian Highlanders (Scottish Rifles) from 1914-1919.

After the First World War he studied at Merton College, University of Oxford, and was awarded a BLitt for his thesis on Edmund Spenser in 1920. Following a brief appointment as Lecturer in English Language and Literature at the University of Glasgow from 1920-1921, he was appointed Professor of English Language and Literature at King's College, University of Durham, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 1921-1945. In April 1926 he was awarded a DLitt by the University of Glasgow for his thesis Edmond Spenser : an essay on Renaissance poetry . During the Second World War, he also spent a year (1943-1944) with the British Council in China as a visiting Professor. In 1945, he was appointed Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English at the University of Edinburgh, a position which he held until his retirement in 1959. During this time he was involved in establishing the School of Scottish Studies in 1951. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bordeaux in 1934 and was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Law by the University of Glasgow in 1953.

His publications include Edmund Spenser - An essay on renaissance poetry, (1925); Spenser's Works, (1928); John of Bordeaux, (1936); The Beginnings of English Literature, (1939); The Faerie Queene, (1947); English Literature, 1789-1815, (1963); and Kipling's Mind and Art, (1964). He also edited Edmund Spenser's Complaints, (1928); Daphaida and other Poems, (1929); The Shepherd's Calendar, (1930); and A view of the present state of Ireland, (1934); and also John Moore's Mordaunt: Sketches of Life, Characters and Manners in Various Countries . William Lindsay Renwick died in Edinburgh on 25 November 1970  .


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposit : Margaret Renwick : 1978

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures

Custodial History

Formerly in the custody of the creator


None expected

Related Material

William Lindsay Renwick's papers on Spenser are held by the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections: GB 237 Coll-80 .

Location of Originals

This material is original


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives,ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999 and National Council on Archives,Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Collection catalogued by members of Glasgow University Archive Service staff. Catalogue converted to Encoded Archival Description by Andrew Thomson, Hub Project Archivist, 16 July 2004. Administrative history edited by Jane Heward, Archives Assistant, 21 July 2011.