Israel Gollancz

Sir Israel Gollancz, FBA (13 July 1863[1] – 23 June 1930[2]) was a scholar of early English literature and of Shakespeare. He was Professor of English Language and Literature at King's College, London, from 1903 to 1930.

Gollancz was born 13 July 1863,[3] in London, sixth of seven children of Rabbi Samuel Marcus Gollancz (1820–1900), cantor of the Hambro Synagogue, London, and his wife, Johanna Koppell.[4] He was the younger brother of Sir Hermann Gollancz and the uncle of the publisher Victor Gollancz. In 1910, he married Alide Goldschmidt in London.[5]

He was a founder member and the first Secretary (1902–1930) of the British Academy and of the committee for a Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, which eventually became the Royal National Theatre in London, and he was the Director of the Early English Text Society.[6] He edited the "Temple" Shakespeare, a uniform edition of the complete works in pocket size volumes which was the most popular Shakespeare edition of its day. In 1916, as Honorary Secretary of the Shakespeare Tercentenary Committee, he also edited A book of homage to Shakespeare, an anthology of responses to Shakespeare from scholars, thinkers and other prominent figures from around the world.[7] He also produced a translation in modern English of the important medieval Christian allegorical poem Pearl. He contributed works to the Dictionary of National Biography. Gollancz was knighted in 1919.[8]

Gollancz died on 23 June 1930, in London and was buried at the Jewish Cemetery at Willesden on 26 June.[9] In the year of his death, the British Academy held a memorial lecture in his name, at which they unveiled a bust of Sir Israel.[10] The British Academy awards the Sir Israel Gollancz prize for Early English Studies.[11]


  • "Sir Israel Gollancz Early And Middle English (transcript)". London: The Times. Jun 24, 1930. p. 16; col D.


  1. Births Sep 1863 GOLLANEZ Israel London City 1c 77
  2. Deaths Jun 1930 Gollancy Israel 66 Willesden 3a 310
  3. "Some Centenaries Of 1963". London: The Times. Jan 2, 1963. p. 12; col E.
  4. England 1871 census. Class: RG10; Piece: 436; Folio: 10; Page: 16; GSU roll: 823356.
  5. Marriages Sep 1910 Gollancz Israel Paddington 1a 231
  6. "Early English Text Society". London: The Times. Jul 22, 1930. p. 17; col D.
  7. Gollancz, Israel, ed. (1916). A book of homage to Shakespeare. Oxford: Humphrey Milford.
  8. "Honours List". London: The Times. Apr 29, 1919. p. 12; col D.. Professor Israel Gollancz, Secretary of the British Academy since its foundation.
  9. "Deaths". London: The Times. Jun 27, 1930. p. 1; col A and 17; col D.
  10. "The Art Of Chaucer Sir Israel Gollancz Memorial Lecture". London: The Times. Dec 4, 1930. p. 9; col D.
  11. "British Academy's New Fellows". London: The Times. Jul 11, 1963. p. 14; col F.
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