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Andrew Scott Cairncross

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Andrew Scott Cairncross (25 March 1901 – 17 December 1975)[1] was a Scottish-American scholar of Shakespeare and the English literary renaissance.

Cairncross is best known for his 1936 book The Problem of Hamlet (London: MacMillan), which makes a number of controversial arguments about Hamlet — arguing, for example, that the play was written around 1588–89 (rather than twelve years later, as most scholars insist), and that the so-called Ur-Hamlet, to which frequent allusion occurs starting in 1589, is actually an early draft of Shakespeare's play.[2]

Cairncross was born in Lesmahagow, Scotland, to Andrew Cairncross and Margaret Matin. He earned his M.A. and D.Litt. (1932) from the University of Glasgow and worked as a schoolteacher and headmaster in his native Lanarkshire until retiring in 1961. He immigrated to the United States in 1963 at the invitation of Hardin–Simmons University, and within a year was a visiting professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. In 1964, he finished a three-volume work on Henry VI, published by Harvard University Press.[3][4]

He was a visiting professor at Baylor University in the spring of 1974. He died in Bryan, Texas in 1975.[5]


  1. ^ Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982
  2. ^ Matus 2013, pp. 147–148.
  3. ^ "Fastest Pun in the West Sparks TWC". El Paso Herald-Post. El Paso, Texas. November 4, 1964. p. 17.
  4. ^ "Dr. A. S. Cairncross ABWA Speaker". Abilene Reporter-News. Abilene, Texas. May 18, 1970.
  5. ^ "Visiting Prof". Waco Tribune-Herald. Waco, Texas. March 24, 1974. p. 33.