Dr. John W. Kinnaird, 55, a professor of English at the University of Maryland at College Park since 1965, died Saturday at his home in College Park. He had cancer.

Dr. Kinnaird wrote a number of works on the subject of Romanticism including, "William Hazlitt: Critic of Power." In recent years he had developed an interest in fantasy and science fiction as extensions of Romanticism.

He was born in Nelsonville, N.Y., and was a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where he majored in Chinese Studies. He earned a master's degree and a doctoral degree, in English literature, at Columbia University.

He served with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II.

He worked for a time as a reporter for the Newburgh (N.Y.) News, spent two years at Oxford University as a Fulbright Fellow, and taught at Bucknell and Rutgers universities and Vasar College before coming here in 1965.

Survivors include his wife, the former Joan Kennedy, and two sons, John and Stephen, all of College Park, and a sister, Irene Curtis of Springfield, Mo.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society or the charity of one's choice. c