Jonathan Bate’s publications include Shakespeare and the English Romantic Imagination (Oxford UP, 1986), Shakespearean Constitutions (Oxford UP, 1989), Shakespeare and Ovid (Oxford UP, 1993), the Arden Shakespeare edition of Titus Andronicus (1995; revised edition, 2018), the co-edited Oxford Illustrated History of Shakespeare on Stage (1996), The Genius of Shakespeare (Picador/OUP USA, 1997/8; 10th anniversary edition with new Afterword, 2008; Picador Classic edition, with new afterword and an introduction by Simon Callow, 2016), two influential works of ecocriticism, Romantic Ecology (Routledge, 1991, Routledge Revival edition 2013) and The Song of the Earth (Picador/Harvard UP, 2000), and a novel about William Hazlitt, The Cure for Love (Picador, 1998). His biography of John Clare (Picador/Farrar Straus Giroux, 2003) won Britain’s two oldest literary awards, the Hawthornden Prize for Literature and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography, as well as the NAMI (New York) Book Award; it was shortlisted for four other awards, including the Samuel Johnson Prize and widely reviewed as ‘a stunning achievement’ and ‘an extraordinary work of scholarship’. His intellectual biography Soul of the Age: A Biography of the Mind of William Shakespeare (Penguin UK/Random House USA, 2009) was runner-up for the PEN America Biography Award. He then co-authored, with Dora Thornton, Shakespeare: Staging the World (British Museum & OUP USA, 2012), published to coincide with their exhibition of the same title, which was the British Museum’s contribution to the London 2012 Festival, part of the Cultural Olympiad. Selected highlights are illustrated in a smaller book, Shakespeare’s Britain.
English Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford UP, 2010) has been translated into several languages, including Arabic and Chinese. Jonathan’s work as an advocate for the importance of the arts and humanities led to an edited collection of essays called The Public Value of the Humanities, published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2011.
In 2015, he published a major biography, Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life (William Collins UK; HarperCollins USA; Fourth Estate Australia). Selected as a ‘Book of the Year’ in nine national newspapers, it was chosen by the Biographers International Organization as the best biography of 2015 in the category of Arts & Literature, and was runner-up for the Samuel Johnson Prize.
He delivered the inaugural E. H. Gombrich Lectures on the Classical Tradition at the Warburg Institute of London University and developed them into How the Classics made Shakespeare for Princeton University Press (2019).
In 2020, for the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth, he published an innovative biography, Radical Wordsworth: The Poet who changed the World (William Collins UK, Yale UP USA), telling the story of the poet’s life, analysing his greatest poetry, setting him in the context of the Romantic revolution, and revealing his influence on later cultural developments such as the creation of National Parks. This was accompanied by a highly acclaimed series of documentaries for BBC Radio 4, In Wordsworth’s Footsteps. Radical Wordsworth won the Bookends Award for Literature and was runner-up for the Lakeland Book of the Year.
His most recent books are a “bibliomemoir,” Mad about Shakespeare: from Classroom to Theatre to Emergency Room, and a ‘parallel life’ of two great romantics: Bright Star, Green Light: The Beautiful Works and Damned Lives of John Keats and F. Scott Fitzgerald (William Collins UK, Yale UP USA).
From 2003 to 2012 he was on the Board of the Royal Shakespeare Company, for whom he edited, jointly with Eric Rasmussen, The RSC Shakespeare: Complete Works (Macmillan UK, Random House Modern Library USA, 2007, paperback 2008), which won the Falstaff Award for best Shakespeare book of 2007 and a British Book Design Award. It remains the market-leading edition in the UK. Texts of individual plays, with longer introductions, stage histories and director interviews, have been published in paperback in 34 volumes, the series completed in April 2012. A companion volume of Collaborative Plays by Shakespeare and Others, being the so-called ‘apocryphal plays’, was published by Macmillan in 2013. It also won the Falstaff Award. A second edition of the Complete Works, with an additional introduction and staging notes on 100 RSC productions, is published in April 2022, to mark the beginning of the 400th year of the First Folio, which provides the copy text for 36 plays.
He has also edited Charles Lamb’s Essays of Elia (Oxford World’s Classics, 1987), the writings of The Romantics on Shakespeare (Penguin Classics, 1992), and John Clare’s Selected Poems (Faber and Faber, 2004). He has written introductions for the Penguin Classics edition of Andrew Marvell’s Complete Poems (2005) and the Folio Society edition of Lord Byron’s Selected Poems (2013), as well as the illustrated published screenplays of Julie Taymor’s movies, Titus (2000, starring Anthony Hopkins) and The Tempest (2010, starring Helen Mirren).
He is co-editor of the anthology with guided reading techniques Stressed Unstressed: Classic Poems to Ease the Mind (Williams Collins, 2016), published in association with the charitable Foundation, ReLit. A selection of his own poems, The Shepherd’s Hut, was published in November 2017, with all author royalties donated to ReLit.