G. Wilson Knight (1897-1985) served as a military courier in World War I in Iraq, India and Persia. After graduating from Oxford University’s St Edmund Hall, he became a distinguished scholar and literary critic, writing on Shakespeare, Byron, Ibsen and Nietzsche. Starting in 1923, he taught English at various schools, and received his first academic post at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College in 1931.
He taught at the Stowe School from 1941 until 1946 and then at Leeds University until his retirement in 1962, first as Reader and starting in 1956 as Professor of English. Eccentric, powerfully original, and an outstanding lecturer, Knight was mainly fascinated by mythical patterns and meanings in literature. His The Wheel of Fire, Interpretations of Shakespearian Tragedy (1930) is one of the most influential books in the field. Knight was also a producer and actor in Shakespearean plays. His staging of Shakespeare was noted for its emphasis on color and symbolism. He also wrote plays for the British stage and television. A believer in spiritualism, Knight was a vice-president of the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain.
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