ONE of the most influential literary scholars of his generation has died aged 85.

John Burrow produced numerous critical works on medieval English literature, including an interpretation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight that remains significant today.

His books shone a light on the works of poets like Geoffrey Chaucer and he is remembered as writer with a sense of humour and attention to detail.

Prof Burrow, who died on October 21, lectured at Christ Church College and Brasenose College and was a fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, for more than 14 years.

Born in Loughton, Essex, in 1932, Prof Burrow’s father was an accountant called Alan and his mother, Ada, was a teacher.

He attended Buckhurst Hill county high school, Chigwell, before heading to Christ Church to read English.

Prof Burrow launched his career in academia in 1955, working as an assistant lecturer at King’s College London.

He returned to Oxford two years later where he lectured in English at Christ Church and Brasenose College.

In 1961 Prof Burrow became a fellow of Jesus College, and collaborated with John Carey and Christopher Ricks to reinvigorate the English syllabus.

He took up the Winterstoke chair at Bristol University in 1976, where he served as head of department and then dean of the faculty.

In 1986 Prof Burrow was elected a fellow of the British Academy, and from 1983 to 2006 he served as honorary director of the Early English Text Society

A renowned intellectual and prolific writer, his books include Ricardian Poetry, Autobiographical Poetry in the Middle Ages, Gestures and Looks in Medieval Narrative, Langland’s Fictions, and A Reading of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

He was also a respected editor, publishing editions of Hoccleve’s poetry for the Early English Text Society and editing the widely-used textbook, A Book of Middle English.

One of the most influential literary critics of his generation, Prof Burrow was a major voice in medieval studies for more than half a century.

His former students and colleagues remember him with great affection as a generous and humane scholar and friend.

He enjoyed walking in the countryside around Clifton, Bristol, where he lived during the later years of his life, but the polio he had as a boy caught up with him and he became increasingly disabled.

He continued writing and publishing prolifically right up until the time of his death.

Prof Burrow was married to children’s fantasy writer Diana Wynne Jones, who died in 2011.

He is survived by their sons, Richard, Michael and Colin, and by five grandchildren.