Professor Ronald Speirs MA, PhD

Department of Modern Languages
Emeritus Professor of German Studies

Contact details

Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

My research is on German literary and intellectual topics since the later nineteenth century, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Weber, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht.


Educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and the universities of Aberdeen, Zürich and Stirling. Academic career at the University of Birmingham, 1971-2010.


My most recent research has been on Kafka and Nietzsche.

Other activities

I am an editor of German Life and Letters, Studia Theodisca and Studie Austriaca.


  • Professor Ronald Speirs, Brecht's early plays (London: Macmillan, 1982)
  • Professor Ronald Speirs, Bertolt Brecht (London: Methuen, 1987)
  • Professor Ronald Speirs, Thomas Mann: 'Mario und der Zauberer': A Critical Guide (London: Grant & Cutler, 1990)
  • Fascism and European Literature, ed. by Stein Ugelvik Larsen, Beatrice Sandberg and Professor Ronald Speirs (Bern: Lang, 1991)
  • Max Weber, Political Writings, ed by Professor Ronald Speirs and Peter Lassmann (Cambridge, 1994),
  • Professor Ronald Speirs , Macht und Mythos bei Thomas Mann .( Universitätsverlag Jena, 1995)
  • Professor Ronald Speirs and Beatrice Sandberg, Franz Kafka (Macmillan 1997)
  • Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings ed. by Professor Ronald Speirs and Raymond Geuss (Cambridge: CUP, 1999)
  • The Writers' Morality: Festschrift for Michael Butler , ed. by Professor Ronald Speirs (Oxford: Lang, 2000)
  • Brecht's Poetry of Political Exile, ed. by Professor Ronald Speirs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)
  • Critical edition of Brecht’s Die Dreigroschenoper (ed. S Hinton and E Harsh with R. Speirs). (Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, 2000)
  • H. G. Adler und Hermann Broch, Zwei Schriftsteller im Exil. Briefwechsel, ed. by Professor Ronald Speirs and Professor John White (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2004)
  • Germany's Two Unifications: Anticipations, Experiences, Responses, ed. by Professor Ronald Speirs and Professor John Breuilly (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2005)
  • Franz Kafka: Narration. Rhetoric and Reading, ed. by Professor Ronald Speirs, Beatrice Sandberg and Jakob Lothe (University of Ohio Press, 2011)