Edgar Allison Peers
Edgar Allison Peers was Professor in Hispanic Studies, founder of the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies and a prolific author on the Spanish Mystics and the Spanish Civil War. After his death it was revealed that Peers was the author of Redbrick University, a controversial book about modern Universities written under the pseudonym of Bruce Truscot.
Edgar Allison Peers was born in 1891 and as a child moved every few years with his father's Customs and Excise job. Peers thus attended many different types of school before going to Christ's College, Cambridge, to read Medieval and Modern Languages in 1909. He intended to take French and Spanish, but was discouraged from the latter as there was no lecturer and instead took English as a second subject. After graduating in 1912, and with no opportunity of a University post, he took the Teachers' Diploma and became a Schoolmaster. In this capacity Peers pursued his Spanish interest, introducing Spanish to the curriculum and publishing a Spanish grammar book.
After the Armistice Peers decided to take any kind of University appointment that presented itself and pursue Spanish as his life-work. He began work at the University of Liverpool early in 1920 as lecturer in charge of the Department of Spanish, setting up the Summer School of Spanish that same year, and became Gilmour Professor of Spanish in 1922.
Peers had a prolific output, writing or editing over sixty books on Spain, being perhaps best known for his work on Spanish Mystics. In 1923 he founded the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies and throughout his career he was instrumental in raising the profile of Hispanic studies.
Peers was also passionate in his views on higher education and published two controversial, highly critical and influential books dealing with problems and policies within Universities. Redbrick University (1943) and Redbrick and these Vital Days (1945) were published under the pseudonym "Bruce Truscot". These provoked lively debate, not least over Truscot's real identity, but also surrounding the purpose of the universities, role of research and responsibilities of the teacher. He coined the term "Redbrick" to denote the more modern universities as compared with "Oxbridge", the newer universities being typically housed in Victorian "Redbrick" buildings. Truscot's contribution to the post-war debate on reform and development within education was significant.
E. Allison Peers died in December 1952 and only then was the real identity of Bruce Truscot revealed.
Professor Edgar Allison Peers material held at The University of Liverpool: