Daiches, David 1912-2005

views updated

DAICHES, David 1912-2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born September 2, 1912, in Sunderland, England; died July 15, 2005, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Educator and author. Daiches was a retired English professor noted for writing literary biographies, but he also had the distinction of being an authority on Scotch whiskey. Although born in England, he spent much of his early life in Scotland and earned his master's degree, with first-class honors, at the University of Edinburgh in 1934. He went on to complete a doctorate at Balliol College, Oxford, in 1939. His first academic post was at the University of Chicago, but he left the university in 1943 because of World War II. During the war, Daiches worked for the New York City office of the British Information Service, and later moved to Washington, DC, to become second secretary at the British Embassy. With the war over, Daiches joined the faculty at Cornell University in 1956, then moved back to England in 1951 to be a lecturer in English at Cambridge. From 1957 to 1962 he was a fellow at Jesus College, and from 1961, until his retirement in 1977 as professor emeritus, he taught at Sussex University, where he was also dean of the School of English Studies through most of the 1960s. Daiches returned to Edinburgh in 1980, however, to accept the position of director of the Institute for Advanced Studies; he retired permanently in 1986. During his career, Daiches was a prolific author and editor of literary criticism, histories, and biographies, and was especially noted for his books on Scottish poet Robert Burns, including Robert Burns (1950; revised edition, 1966) and Robert Burns, the Poet (1994). He also published works on such authors as Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Eliot, and Dylan Thomas, among others. He published the autobiographical Two Worlds: An Edinburgh Jewish Childhood (1956; reprinted, 1989), which won the 1957 Brotherhood Award, and A Third World (1971). Daiches spent much of his working life in the United States and England, but he was very fond of Scotland, and became especially enamored of the native Scotch whiskey, about which he wrote in the authoritative Scotch Whisky: Its Past and Present (1969; third edition, 1978). For his scholarly accomplishments, Daiches was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1958, a fellow of the Royal Society of England in 1981, and a commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1991.



Daiches, David, Two Worlds: An Edinburgh Jewish Childhood, University of Alabama Press (Tuscaloosa, AL), 1989.

Daiches, David, A Third World, Sussex University Press (Sussex, England), 1971.


Independent (London, England), July 18, 2005, p. 32.

Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2005, p. B10.

New York Times, July 23, 2005, p. A15.

Times (London, England), July 25, 2005, p. 48.