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Jonathan Bate CBE FBA FRSL (born 26 June 1958) is a British academic, biographer, critic, broadcaster, novelist and scholar of Shakespeare, Romanticism and Ecocriticism.

He was educated at Sevenoaks School, the University of Cambridge and Harvard University, where he held a Harkness Fellowship. He was formerly a Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge and then King Alfred Professor of English Literature at Liverpool University before becoming Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at University of Warwick.

He is a Governor and Board member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and sits on the Council of the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

His publications include Shakespeare and the English Romantic Imagination (1986), Shakespearean Constitutions (1989), Shakespeare and Ovid (1993), the Arden edition of Titus Andronicus (1995), The Genius of Shakespeare (1997), two influential works of ecocriticism, Romantic Ecology (1991) and The Song of the Earth (2000), and a novel based indirectly on the life of William Hazlitt, The Cure for Love. His definitive biography of John Clare (2003) won the Hawthornden Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for biography), as well as being short listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Prize and the South Bank Show Award. In America it won the NAMI Book Award. The Genius of Shakespeare was praised by Sir Peter Hall, founder of the RSC, as "the best modern book on Shakespeare".[1] It was reissued with a new afterword in 2008. Bate also edited Clare's Selected Poetry (Faber and Faber, 2004), and, with Eric Rasmussen, Shakespeare's Complete Works for the Royal Shakespeare Company, published in April 2007 as part of the Random House Modern Library. This was the first edition since that of Nicholas Rowe in 1709 to use the First Folio as primary copy text for all the plays. Bate’s most recent book is Soul of the Age: The Life, Mind and World of William Shakespeare (London, 2008 and in USA as Soul of the Age: A Biography of the Mind of William Shakespeare, Random House, 2009).

Bate is also a frequent writer and presenter of documentary features for BBC Radio 4. His subjects have included The Elizabethan Discovery of England, Faking the Classics and The Poetry of History, in which poems about great events are compared to historical accounts.

Bate was created a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) on 17 June 2006. He is also a Fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature, and an Honorary Fellow of his undergraduate college, St Catharine's College, Cambridge.

Bate lives in a Warwickshire village near Stratford-upon-Avon and is married to the author and biographer Paula Byrne, with whom he has three young children.





  • Song of the Earth. 2000.  
  • Soul of the age : the life, mind and world of William Shakespeare. Viking. 2008.  


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