This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful.Find sources: "Richard Davenport-Hines" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (May 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Richard Peter Treadwell Davenport-Hines[1][2][3] (born 21 June 1953 in London) is a British historian and literary biographer, best known for his biography of the poet W. H. Auden. Davenport-Hines is also an expert on the Cambridge economist John Maynard Keynes. Davenport-Hines has published more than twenty books and essays on a variety of historical, political, and philosophical topics over the course of his career.

Early life

Davenport-Hines was educated at St Paul's School, London, and Selwyn College, Cambridge (which he entered as Corfield Exhibitioner in 1972 and left in 1977 after completing a PhD thesis on the history of British armaments companies during 1918–36). He was a research fellow at the London School of Economics (1982–86), where he headed a research project on the globalisation of pharmaceutical companies. He was joint winner of the Wolfson Prize for History and Biography in 1985 and winner of the Wadsworth Prize for Business History in 1986. He now writes and reviews in a number of literary journals, including the Literary Review and The Times Literary Supplement. He is an adviser to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, to which (as of June 2016) he has contributed 163 biographies. During 2016, he was visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.[4]

Davenport-Hines' Alma Mater, Selwyn College, Cambridge
Davenport-Hines' Alma Mater, Selwyn College, Cambridge


He was a trustee of the London Library between 1996 and 2005, and has been on the committee of the Royal Literary Fund since 2007. He is a member of the Athenaeum Club, London, Brooks's Club and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature since 2005 and the Royal Historical Society since 1984. He was chairman of the judges of the Biographers’ Club Prize in 2008, and of the judges of the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History in 2010. He is also one of the judges of the Cosmo Davenport-Hines Prize for Poetry awarded annually since 2009 to members of King's College London – named in commemoration of his son who died on 9 June 2008 aged 21. He also inaugurated the Cosmo Davenport-Hines Memorial Lecture given annually since 2010 under the joint auspices of King's College London and the Royal Society of Literature. He was a leading signatory to a letter in The Guardian urging Britain to remain in the European Union during the membership referendum of 2016.[5]


He has contributed to several volumes of historical or literary essays. These include an essay on English and French armaments dealers operating in eastern Europe in the 1920s in Maurice Lévy-Leboyer, Helga Nussbaum and Alice Teichova (editors), Historical Studies in International Corporate Business (1989); an essay on HIV in Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich (editors), Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science (1994); a historical critique of drugs prohibition laws in Selina Chen and Edward Skidelsky, High Time for Reform (2001); a chapter in the Cambridge Companion to W.H. Auden (2005); and a memoir in Peter Stanford (editor), The Death of a Child (2011).



  1. ^ Enterprise, Management and Innovation in British Business, 1914-80, ed. Richard Davenport-Hines and Geoffrey Jones, Frank Cass & Co. Ltd, 1988, front matter
  2. ^ Book Review Digest, March 2006 to February 2007 inclusive, vol. 102, ed. Clare Doyle, H. W. Wilson Co., 2006, p. 326
  3. ^ The Cambridge University List of Members up to 31 December 1991, Cambridge University Press, 1991, p. 631
  4. ^ Who’s Who, 2016
  5. ^ "Lessons from history for the Brexiters". The Guardian. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  6. ^ The Pursuit of Oblivion by Richard Davenport-Hines[dead link]
  7. ^ Last supper with Proust
  8. ^ Review: Ettie by Richard Davenport-Hines
  9. ^ Review: "Lost at Sea but not forgotten" by Simon Caterson
  10. ^ Review: An English Affair:Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo
  11. ^ "Review: Richard Davenport-Hines, 'Edward VII'". 3 June 2016.
  12. ^ Aaronovitch, David. "Review: Enemies Within: Communists, the Cambridge Spies and the Making of Modern Britain by Richard Davenport-Hines". The Times. Retrieved 7 December 2019.