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© copyright Kevin Quick

Edgar Allison Peers (1891 - 1952), Hispanic scholar and educationist

Edgar was born in Leighton Buzzard on 7th May 1891. He was the only son of the civil servant John Thomas Peers (1860 - 1944) and his wife Jessie Dale (1865 - 1951), daughter of Edgar Allison. Between 1892 and 1903 the family moved between a number of different locations, and consequently Edgar studied at a number of different elementary schools and at the last of these started his study of Spanish. His subsequent education was as follows:

  • Dartford grammar school
  • studying abroad
  • Christ's College, Cambridge (scholar and prizeman)
  • 1910 London; BA degree in English & French Literature
  • 1912 Cambridge; 1st Class in medieval and modern languages tripos
  • 1912 Winchester reading prize
  • 1913 Harness prize
  • 1913 Cambridge; Teacher's Diploma
  • 1914 Members' English essay prize

His career highlights include:

  • For five years from 1913 he was modern languages master teaching at Mill Hill, Felsted, Essex and then subsequently at Wellington. In 1914 and 1920 he produced publications on English and French literature.
  • 1918 he founded the Modern Humanities Research Association, and was its honorary secretary for eleven years and president in 1931-2.
  • 1920 he was appointed to the Gilmour chair of Spanish at Liverpool, where he remained thereafter.
  • 1923 he founded the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies and edited it until his death.
  • Following WWI, Peers worked tirelessly to promote Spanish Studies in Great Britain, through lectures, school visits and publications (including a number of study aids) etc.
  • 1926 translated Ramon Lull's Blanquerna
  • 1929 published a biography of Ramon Lull
  • 1927-30 published Studies of the Spanish Mystics (2 vols.)
  • 1928-9 visiting professorship of English literature at Madrid University
  • 1929-30 visiting professorship of modern comparitive literature at Columbia University
  • 1930 visiting professorship of Spanish at New Mexico and California Universities
  • 1930 published Spain, a Companion to Spanish Travel
  • 1932 published The Pyrenees, French and Spanish
  • 1932 Rede lecturer, New York University
  • 1932 Centennial lecturer, Cambridge University
  • 1934 he founded the Institute of Hispanic Studies at Liverpool
  • 1934-5 translated the complete works of St John the Cross (3 vols.)
  • 1936 published The Spanish Tragedy
  • 1937 published Catalonia infelix
  • 1939 published Spain, the Church and the Orders
  • 1939 Taylorian lecturer, Oxford University
  • 1940 published History of the Romantic Movement in Spain (2 vols.)
  • 1940 published The Spanish Dilemma
  • 1943 published Spain in Eclipse
  • 1943 to 1946 he was director of the Hispanic Council.
  • 1946 Translated the complete works of St Teresa of Avila (3 vols.)
  • During the 1940s and under the pseudonym Bruce Truscot, he published three books; Redbrick University (1943), Redbrick and these Vital Days (1945) and First Years at the University (1946). These books contributed to the discussion of university problems and policies at the end of WWII.
  • 1947 received honorary degree of LLD from Glasgow University
  • 1951 Translated the letters of St Teresa of Avila (2 vols.)
  • Peers was also medallist of the Hispanic Society of America, and honorary member of the American Accademy of Arts and Sciences, and of the Institute d'Estudis Catalans

In his personal life Peers was married on 19th March 1924 to Marion Young. The couple did not have any children. He died on 21st December 1952 in hospital at Liverpool.