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Jonathan Bate - Author

About the Author

Sir Jonathan Bate is Provost of Worcester College and Professor of English Literature at Oxford University. He is Vice-President of the British Academy, a Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Honorary Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and was a 2014 judge for the Man Booker Prize. His biography of John Clare (a poet who was a key influence on Ted Hughes) was short-listed for seven literary prizes and won three of them, including Britain's two oldest literary awards, the James Tait Black Prize for Biography and the Hawthornden Prize (which Hughes won for Lupercal). Soul of the Age, his intellectual biography of Shakespeare, was runner up for the Biography Prize of American PEN. He has also published on the influence of the classics ('Shakespeare and Ovid'), on Wordsworth ('Romantic Ecology') and the poetry of nature ('The Song of the Earth'), and has worked in the theatre ('Being Shakespeare: A One-Man Play' for Simon Callow), all of which were Hughesian obsessions.

Featured books by Jonathan Bate

Ted Hughes The Unauthorised Life

Ted Hughes The Unauthorised Life

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2015

A magisterial life of Ted Hughes - identified recently as the only English poet since the First World War with a claim to true greatness and one of Britain's most important writers - to be published on National Poetry Day by prize-winning biographer Jonathan Bate. Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate, was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. He is one of Britain's most important poets, a poet of claws and cages: Jaguar, Hawk and Crow. Event and animal are turned to myth in his work. Yet he is also a poet of deep tenderness, of restorative memory steeped in the English literary tradition. A poet of motion and force, of rivers, light and redemption, of beasts in brooding landscapes. With an equal gift for poetry and prose, and with a soul as capacious as any poet who has lived, he was also a prolific children's writer and has been hailed as the greatest English letter-writer since John Keats. With his magnetic personality and an insatiable appetite for friendship, for love and for life, he also attracted more scandal than any poet since Lord Byron. At the centre of this book is Hughes's lifelong quest to come to terms with the suicide of his first wife, Sylvia Plath, the saddest and most infamous moment in the public history of modern poetry. Ted Hughes left behind him a more complete archive of notes and journals than any other major poet, including thousands of pages of drafts, unpublished poems and memorandum books that make up an almost complete record of Hughes's inner life, preserved by him for posterity.

Other books by Jonathan Bate

The Shepherd's Hut

The Shepherd's Hut

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/11/2017

Jonathan Bate believes that the slow, meditative reading of poetry - absorbing ourselves in the images of a poem, slowing to its beat, allowing our minds to rest in the pause of a line-ending - can bring us tranquility as we find echoes of our own experiences on the page. Experiences of beautiful places, strong feelings and moments that lift the human spirit. In The Shepherd's Hut, Bate introduces us to the diet of swans, the quest for inner peace in ancient Chinese poetry, the English seaside and the summer Mediterranean, a rose garden and a snow-covered moor. He reminds us what it is like to fall in love and to say goodbye. These are poems of memory and of mourning; quick-fire thoughts and longer meditations inspired by the great poets of the past. All author proceeds will be donated to ReLit, a small charitable foundation established by Jonathan Bate and his wife, author Paula Byrne, devoted to the act of reading as an invaluable form of stress relief in our busy world.

Stressed, Unstressed Classic Poems to Ease the Mind

Stressed, Unstressed Classic Poems to Ease the Mind

Author: Jonathan Bate, Paula Byrne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/12/2016

Can you be re-lit by poetry? This little book offers everyone one of the oldest of all remedies for stress: the reading of poetry. Intended to help you endure some of your stressful moments and painful experiences, these poems tell us we are not alone. Returned again and again over the centuries by great imaginations are love and death and memory - remembrance of childhood joy, of happy days and beautiful places, of loved ones we have lost or feeling at peace and at one with the natural world. `Stressed Unstressed' harvests an array of poems on such themes in the hope that they will speak to you when you are processing your worries or when you simply want to fill your mind with different, more positive thoughts. Words can act as drugs, and on the bedside or in a waiting-room this little volume of poetry can help in all sorts of difficult circumstances. So here is a selection of new poems and old, enduring classics and forgotten gems. Next time you are feeling stressed or anxious, worried or sleepless, panicky or unable to cope, `Stressed Unstressed' invites you to read a poem and join the thousands of others who have read and remembered and loved these poems - to form a very special community. This is bibliotherapy.

Ted Hughes The Unauthorised Life

Ted Hughes The Unauthorised Life

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/04/2016

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2015 SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE `Gripping and at times ineffably sad, this book would be poetic even without the poetry. It will be the standard biography of Ted Hughes for a long time to come' Sunday Times `Seldom has the life of a writer rattled along with such furious activity ... A moving, fascinating biography' The Times Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate, was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. He is one of Britain's most important poets, a poet of claws and cages: Jaguar, Hawk and Crow. Event and animal are turned to myth in his work. Yet he is also a poet of deep tenderness, of restorative memory steeped in the English literary tradition. A poet of motion and force, of rivers, light and redemption, of beasts in brooding landscapes. With an equal gift for poetry and prose, and with a soul as capacious as any poet who has lived, he was also a prolific children's writer and has been hailed as the greatest English letter-writer since John Keats. With his magnetic personality and an insatiable appetite for friendship, for love and for life, he also attracted more scandal than any poet since Lord Byron. At the centre of the book is Hughes's lifelong quest to come to terms with the suicide of his first wife, Sylvia Plath, the saddest and most infamous moment in the public history of modern poetry. Ted Hughes left behind him a more complete archive of notes and journals than any other major poet, including thousands of pages of drafts, unpublished poems and memorandum books that make up an almost complete record of Hughes's inner life, preserved by him for posterity. Renowned scholar Sir Jonathan Bate has spent five years in his archives, unearthing a wealth of new material. His book offers for the first time the full story of Ted Hughes's life as it was lived, remembered and reshaped in his art. It is a book that honours, though not uncritically, Ted Hughes's poetry and the art of life-writing, approached by his biographer with an honesty answerable to Hughes's own.

The Genius of Shakespeare

The Genius of Shakespeare

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/04/2016

With an introduction by Simon Callow Judgements about the quality of works of art begin in opinion. But for the last two hundred years only the wilfully perverse (and Tolstoy) have denied the validity of the opinion that Shakespeare was a genius. Who was Shakespeare? Why has his writing endured? And what makes it so endlessly adaptable to different times and cultures? Exploring Shakespeare's life, including questions of authorship and autobiography, and charting how his legacy has grown over the centuries, this extraordinary book asks how Shakespeare has come to be such a powerful symbol of genius. Written with lively passion and wit, The Genius of Shakespeare is a fascinating biography of the life - and afterlife - of our greatest poet. Jonathan Bate, one of the world's leading Shakespearean scholars, has shown how the legend of Shakespeare's genius was created and sustained, and how the man himself became a truly global phenomenon. 'The best modern book on Shakespeare' Sir Peter Hall

Stressed, Unstressed Classic Poems to Ease the Mind

Stressed, Unstressed Classic Poems to Ease the Mind

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/01/2016

Can you be re-lit by poetry? This little book offers everyone one of the oldest of all remedies for stress: the reading of poetry. Intended to help you endure some of your stressful moments and painful experiences, these poems tell us we are not alone. Again and again over the centuries great poets return to love and death and memory - remembrance of childhood joy, of happy days and beautiful places, of loved ones we have lost or feeling at peace and at one with the natural world. `Stressed Unstressed' harvests an array of poems on such themes in the hope that they will speak to you when you are processing your worries or when you simply want to fill your mind with different, more positive thoughts. Words can act as drugs, and on the bedside or in a waiting-room this little volume of poetry can help in all sorts of difficult circumstances. So here is a selection of new poems and old, enduring classics and forgotten gems. Next time you are feeling stressed or anxious, worried or sleepless, panicky or unable to cope, `Stressed Unstressed' invites you to join the thousands of others who have read and remembered and loved these poems - to form a very special community. This is bibliotherapy.

John Clare

John Clare

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: eBook Release Date: 05/01/2016

The long-awaited literary biography of the supreme "e;poets' poet"e;John Clare (1793-1864) is the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self, but until now he has never been the subject of a comprehensive literary biography.Here at last is his full story told by the light of his voluminous work: his birth in poverty, his work as an agricultural labourer, his burgeoning promise as a writer--cultivated under the gaze of rival patrons--then his moment of fame in the company of John Keats and the toast of literary London, and finally his decline into mental illness and his last years confined in asylums. Clare's ringing voice--quick-witted, passionate, vulnerable, courageous--emerges in generous quotation from his letters, journals, autobiographical writings, and his poems, as Jonathan Bate, the celebrated scholar of Shakespeare, brings the complex man, his beloved work, and his ribald world vividly to life.

Ted Hughes The Unauthorised Life

Ted Hughes The Unauthorised Life

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2015

A magisterial life of Ted Hughes - identified recently as the only English poet since the First World War with a claim to true greatness and one of Britain's most important writers - to be published on National Poetry Day by prize-winning biographer Jonathan Bate. Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate, was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. He is one of Britain's most important poets, a poet of claws and cages: Jaguar, Hawk and Crow. Event and animal are turned to myth in his work. Yet he is also a poet of deep tenderness, of restorative memory steeped in the English literary tradition. A poet of motion and force, of rivers, light and redemption, of beasts in brooding landscapes. With an equal gift for poetry and prose, and with a soul as capacious as any poet who has lived, he was also a prolific children's writer and has been hailed as the greatest English letter-writer since John Keats. With his magnetic personality and an insatiable appetite for friendship, for love and for life, he also attracted more scandal than any poet since Lord Byron. At the centre of this book is Hughes's lifelong quest to come to terms with the suicide of his first wife, Sylvia Plath, the saddest and most infamous moment in the public history of modern poetry. Ted Hughes left behind him a more complete archive of notes and journals than any other major poet, including thousands of pages of drafts, unpublished poems and memorandum books that make up an almost complete record of Hughes's inner life, preserved by him for posterity.

Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: eBook Release Date: 01/10/2015

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2015 SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZEA magisterial life of Ted Hughes - identified recently as the only English poet since the First World War with a claim to true greatness and one of Britain's most important writers - to be published on National Poetry Day by prize-winning biographer Jonathan Bate. Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate, was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. He is one of Britain's most important poets, a poet of claws and cages: Jaguar, Hawk and Crow. Event and animal are turned to myth in his work. Yet he is also a poet of deep tenderness, of restorative memory steeped in the English literary tradition. A poet of motion and force, of rivers, light and redemption, of beasts in brooding landscapes. With an equal gift for poetry and prose, and with a soul as capacious as any poet who has lived, he was also a prolific children's writer and has been hailed as the greatest English letter-writer since John Keats. With his magnetic personality and an insatiable appetite for friendship, for love and for life, he also attracted more scandal than any poet since Lord Byron. At the centre of the book is Hughes's lifelong quest to come to terms with the suicide of his first wife, Sylvia Plath, the saddest and most infamous moment in the public history of modern poetry. Ted Hughes left behind him a more complete archive of notes and journals than any other major poet, including thousands of pages of drafts, unpublished poems and memorandum books that make up an almost complete record of Hughes's inner life, preserved by him for posterity. Renowned scholar Sir Jonathan Bate has spent five years in his archives, unearthing a wealth of new material. His book offers for the first time the full story of Ted Hughes's life as it was lived, remembered and reshaped in his art. It is a book that honours, though not uncritically, Ted Hughes's poetry and the art of life-writing, approached by his biographer with an honesty answerable to Hughes's own.

Romantic Ecology Wordsworth and the Environmental Tradition

Romantic Ecology Wordsworth and the Environmental Tradition

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/12/2014

First published in 1991, Romantic Ecology reassesses the poetry of William Wordsworth in the context of the abiding pastoral tradition in English Literature. Jonathan Bate explores the politics of poetry and argues that contrary to critics who suggest that the Wordsworth was a reactionary who failed to represent the harsh economic reality of his native Lake District, the poet's politics were fundamentally `green'. As our first truly ecological poet, Wordsworth articulated a powerful and enduring vision of human integration with nature which exercised a formative influence on later conservation movements and is of immediate relevance to great environmental issues today. Challenging the orthodoxies of new historicist criticism, Jonathan Bate sets a new agenda for the study of Romanticism in the 1990s.

Worcester: Portrait of an Oxford College

Worcester: Portrait of an Oxford College

Author: Jonathan Bate, Dr. Jessica Goodman Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/02/2014

This richly illustrated hardback celebration of Worcester will include much fascinating new research into the history of the College, but it will offer far more than a tour through the archives. There will be sections on College life and College characters as well as our buildings and gardens, our books and pictures, our clubs and societies. Since it is the foundation as Worcester that we are remembering, the emphasis will be on more recent history - including such momentous events as the advent of women in 1979! - though there will of course be an account of our 'pre-history' as Gloucester College and Gloucester Hall, not to mention our brief interlude as the 'Greek College.' Lively reminiscences from those generations past and present will be included, along with memorabilia and vivid contemporary photography, to create a living portrait of Worcester which will be treasured by every Worcester alumnus and alumna.

Romantic Ecology Wordsworth and the Environmental Tradition

Romantic Ecology Wordsworth and the Environmental Tradition

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/05/2013

First published in 1991, Romantic Ecology reassesses the poetry of William Wordsworth in the context of the abiding pastoral tradition in English Literature. Jonathan Bate explores the politics of poetry and argues that contrary to critics who suggest that the Wordsworth was a reactionary who failed to represent the harsh economic reality of his native Lake District, the poet's politics were fundamentally `green'. As our first truly ecological poet, Wordsworth articulated a powerful and enduring vision of human integration with nature which exercised a formative influence on later conservation movements and is of immediate relevance to great environmental issues today. Challenging the orthodoxies of new historicist criticism, Jonathan Bate sets a new agenda for the study of Romanticism in the 1990s.

Shakespeare's Britain

Shakespeare's Britain

Author: Jonathan Bate, Dora Thornton Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 16/04/2012

Shakespeare: staging the world

Shakespeare: staging the world

Author: Jonathan Bate, Dora Thornton Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/04/2012

Shakespeare: staging the world

Shakespeare: staging the world

Author: Jonathan Bate, Dora Thornton Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 16/04/2012

Soul of the Age The Life, Mind and World of William Shakespeare

Soul of the Age The Life, Mind and World of William Shakespeare

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/06/2009

Jonathan Bate's Soul of the Age brings us closer than ever to understanding what being Shakespeare was actually like. How did plague turn Shakespeare from a jobbing hack into a courtly poet? How did Bottom's dream rewrite the Bible? How did Shakespeare's plays lead to the deaths of an earl and a king? And why was he the one dramatist of his generation never to be imprisoned? Weaving a dazzling tapestry of Elizabethan beliefs and obsessions, private passions and political intrigues, Soul of the Age leads us on an exhilarating tour of the extraordinary, colourful and often violent world that shaped and informed Shakespeare's thinking. Written by one of the world's leading experts, it combines almost everything there is to know about the man and his work in one sensational narrative. 'Bate probably knows as much as any single person can know about Shakespeare ... Surprising, fresh, exhilarating, brilliant', Guardian 'Intensely enjoyable ... you find yourself gasping with pleasure' John Carey, Sunday Times Jonathan Bate is Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick, chief editor of The RSC Shakespeare: Complete Works and the author of many books, including most recently John Clare: A Biography, which won the Hawthornden Prize for Literature and the James Tait Black Prize for Biography. A Fellow of the British Academy, he was awarded a CBE in 2006.

Genius of Shakespeare

Genius of Shakespeare

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 13/11/2008

This fascinating book by one of Britain's most acclaimed Shakespeare scholars explores the extraordinary staying-power of the world's most famous dramatist. Bate opens by taking up questions of authorship and then goes on to trace Shakespeare's canonization and near-deification, examining not only the uniqueness of his status among English-speaking readers but also his effect on literary cultures across the globe. Ambitious, wide-ranging, and historically rich, this book shapes a provocative inquiry into the nature of genius as it ponders the legacy of a talent unequalled in English letters. A bold and meticulous work of scholarship, The Genius of Shakespeare is also lively and accessibly written and will appeal to any reader who has marveled at the Bard and the enduring power of his work. This tenth anniversary edition has a new twenty-page afterword that addresses the renewed interest in Shakespeare and recent film adaptations of his most celebrated works.

John Clare

John Clare

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/06/2004

`What distinguished Clare is an unspectacular joy and a love for the inexorable one-thing-after-anotherness of the world' Seamus Heaney John Clare (1793-1864) was a great Romantic poet, with a name to rival that of Blake, Byron, Wordsworth or Shelley - and a life to match. The `poet's poet', he has a place in the national pantheon and, more tangibly, a plaque in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner, unveiled in 1989. Here at last is Clare's full story, from his birth in poverty and employment as an agricultural labourer, via his burgeoning promise as a writer - cultivated under the gaze of rival patrons - and moment of fame, in the company of John Keats, as the toast of literary London, to his final decline into mental illness and the last years of his life, confined in asylums. Clare's ringing voice - quick-witted, passionate, vulnerable, courageous - emerges through extracts from his letters, journals, autobiographical writings and poems, as Jonathan Bate brings this complex man, his revered work and his ribald world, vividly to life.

The Song of the Earth

The Song of the Earth

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/03/2002

As we enter a new millennium ruled by technology, will poetry still matter? The Song of the Earth answers eloquently in the affirmative. A book about our growing alienation from nature, it is also a brilliant meditation on the capacity of the writer to bring us back to earth, our home. In the first ecological reading of English literature, Jonathan Bate traces the distinctions among nature, culture, and environment and shows how their meanings have changed since their appearance in the literature of the eighteenth century. An intricate interweaving of climatic, topographical, and political elements poetically deployed, his book ranges from greenhouses in Jane Austen's novels to fruit bats in the poetry of Les Murray, by way of Thomas Hardy's woodlands, Dr. Frankenstein's Creature, John Clare's birds' nests, Wordsworth's rivers, Byron's bear, and an early nineteenth-century novel about an orangutan who stands for Parliament. Though grounded in the English Romantic tradition, the book also explores American, Central European, and Caribbean poets and engages theoretically with Rousseau, Adorno, Bachelard, and especially Heidegger. The model for an innovative and sophisticated new ecopoetics, The Song of the Earth is at once an essential history of environmental consciousness and an impassioned argument for the necessity of literature in a time of ecological crisis.

Song of the Earth

Song of the Earth

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/04/2001

'The most important critical work for decades' Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times In the brilliantly engaging style that characterised The Genius of Shakespeare, Jonathan Bate has written a series of compelling pieces on the link between literature and the environment and why poetry matters in the new millennium. In fascinating detail, Bate explains how words like 'culture' and 'environment' have evolved since the writing of Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy and the Romantics to the present day. 'Bate presents his case with an emotional conviction which is almost impossible to resist' The Times 'Anyone familiar with Bate's The Genius of Shakespeare will know how winningly he marries erudition to liveliness' John Coldstream, Daily Telegraph 'I came away from the book deeply grateful for its impassioned song' Adam Thorpe, Sunday Telegraph

Shakespeare and the Twentieth Century The Selected Proceedings of the International Shakespeare Association World Congress, Los Angeles, 1996

Shakespeare and the Twentieth Century The Selected Proceedings of the International Shakespeare Association World Congress, Los Angeles, 1996

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/11/1998

This volume assembles a selection from the many papers delivered at the Sixth World Shakespeare Congress. Four plenary lectures are printed, including that of Jane Smiley on the creation of A Thousand Acres, her award-winning novel derived with King Lear. Twenty-two papers by well-known scholars also offer a wide range of responses to Shakespeare's art and international assessment of his presence in the world at the end of the twentieth century.

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