Sir Mungo William MacCallum KCMG (26 February 1854 – 3 September 1942) was Chancellor of the University of Sydney from 1934 to 1936, and a noted literary critic.

Mungo MacCallum was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of Mungo MacCallum, merchant, and his wife Isabella, née Renton[1]. He studied at the University of Glasgow and at Berlin and Leipzig. In Germany MacCallum concentrated on medieval literature, he published several articles in the Cornhill Magazine in 1879-80. In 1884 he published Studies in Low German and High German literature.

MacCallum became Professor of Literature at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1879, but moved to Sydney in 1887 to take up the post of Foundation Professor of Modern Language and Literature at Sydney University, MacCallum was chosen over 44 other candidates. In 1897 MacCallum became president of the Sydney University Union. In 1898 he was made Dean of the Faculty of Arts. In April 1928 MacCallum was elected deputy chancellor and became Chancellor of the university in 1934. The Mungo MacCallum Building at the University of Sydney was named in his honour.

Sir Mungo wrote a number of works of literary criticism on English and German literature, and is most notable for his work on Shakespeare.

In 1894, MacCallum published a book Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Arthurian Story from the 16th century in which he traced the Arthurian story from its 'Brythonic' origins through Thomas Malory and up to its final phase in Lord Tennyson.[1]

MacCallum married Dorette Margaretha Peters in 1882 and had three children. A daughter, Isabella Renton MacCallum, and two sons: Mungo Lorenz MacCallum, (1884–1934), Rhodes scholar in 1906, who would go on to lecture in Roman Law at the University of Sydney; and Walter Paton MacCallum, who became a Colonel in the army.


Offspring of Mungo William MacCallum and Dorette Margaretha Peters (1863-1952)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Isabella Renton MacCallum (1883-1940)
Mungo Lorenz MacCallum (1884-1933) 1884 Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire, Wales, United Kingdom 11 September 1933 Point Piper, New South Wales, Australia Hilda Kathleen Ballardie (1880-1981)

Bernhard Duncan MacCallum (1888-1889)
Walter Paton MacCallum (1895-1959)

Critical legacy

In his 1967 foreword to Shakespeare's Roman Plays and Their Background, Terence Spencer of the Shakespeare Institute judged MacCallum's "indispensable" 1910 book as unusual in having "outlasted changes of fashion in criticism."


External links

Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General
¶ Death
  • MacCALLUM.—Septernber 3, 1942, at his residence, 223 New South Head Road, Edgcliff, Sir Mungo MacCallum, aged 88 years. Privately cremated.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 September 1942, page 10