Professor Sir Brian Vickers to be awarded honorary doctorate at the School’s 2009 graduation ceremony

Tuesday 17 November 2009

School Fellow, Professor Sir Brian Vickers will be awarded the degree of Doctor of Literature honoris causa at the School’s graduation ceremony on Friday 11th December 2009.

Date released 11 November 2009

Professor Vickers joined the School in 2003, when he was appointed a Distinguished Senior Fellow. In that year he also became a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of English Studies. Since being with us he has been awarded a five-year AHRC grant, based at the Institute, to edit The Complete Works of John Ford. This will be published in three volumes by Oxford University Press, with an online electronic concordance to be hosted by the School’s website, “SAS Space”. In 2005 Brian Vickers founded the London Forum for Authorship Studies, as part of the Institute’s Centre for Manuscript and Print Studies, where he also teaches classes on Shakespearian textual criticism for its M.A. course in the History of the Book.

This honour recognises a lifetime of scholarly achievement. After a decade teaching at Cambridge University, Brian Vickers moved in 1972 to a Professorship at the University of Zürich. From 1975 to 2003 he held the Chair of English Literature at the ETH Zürich and directed the Centre for Renaissance Studies. During that time he co-founded the International Society for the History of Rhetoric, and served as its first President. In 1996 he received the Litt.D. degree from the University of Cambridge; in 1998 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. The University of Fribourg awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2003, and in 2007 he was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2008, Professor Vickers was awarded a Knighthood for services to literary scholarship.

Professor Vickers is a prolific and well-respected writer. His book In Defence of Rhetoric won the Morris D Forkosch Prize in Intellectual History, awarded by the Journal of the History of Ideas. His Francis Bacon and Renaissance Prose of 1968 was followed by editions of Bacon’s major English works for the “Oxford Authors” series. Since 2005 he has been Chair of the Editorial Board of The Oxford Francis Bacon. Professor Vickers is perhaps best known for his writings on Shakespeare. His six-volume collection, Shakespeare, the Critical Heritage 1623-1801, and The Artistry of Shakespeare’s Prose (1968) have become standard works, several times reprinted. In recent years Brian Vickers has been working on authorship attribution problems relating to Shakespeare, having published “Counterfeiting”Shakespeare. Evidence, Authorship, and John Ford’s “Funerall Elegye” (CUP, 2002) and Shakespeare, “A Lover’s Complaint” and John Davies of Hereford (CUP, 2007). His Shakespeare, Co-Author. A Historical Study of Five Collaborative Plays (OUP, 2002) will be followed by a study of Shakespeare’s interaction with George Peele and Thomas Kyd. He is a long-standing contributor to The Times Literary Supplement.

Professor Vickers, on hearing of this award, said: “I am delighted to be honoured by London University, where I have enjoyed such excellent research support”.

For more information, please contact the Dean’s Office, School of Advanced Study on 020 7862 8659 /

The School of Advanced Study at the University of London brings together the specialised scholarship and resources of ten prestigious postgraduate research Institutes to offer academic opportunities across a wide range of subject fields in the humanities and social sciences.

The Institute of English Studies exists to facilitate advanced study and research in English Studies in the wider academic community, national and international, as well as within the University of London.

The Complete Works of John Ford is an AHRC-funded five-year project (2005-2010) based at the Institute of English Studies. It will produce an old-spelling edition of Ford's complete poems, prose works and plays.  

SAS-SPACE is the School’s permanent online archive for digital scholarly and research materials.