Professor David Daiches was born on 2 September 1912 in Sunderland. He was raised in a Jewish family of Lithuanian descent which became the subject of his 1956 memoir Two Worlds: An Edinburgh Jewish Childhood. He moved to Edinburgh as a child where his father was a Rabbi.
He studied at George Watson's College and won a scholarship to the University of Edinburgh, where he won the Elliot prize. He went to Balliol College, Oxford and was elected as a Fellow in 1936.
Daiches wrote extensively on English literature, Scottish literature and Scottish culture.
He died in 2005.