Sir Jonathan Bate at ASU

Sir Jonathan Bate: 'Ted Hughes: Eco-Warrior, or Eco-Worrier?'

By

Bruce Matsunaga

Sir Jonathan Bate reading "Ted Hughes: Eco-Warrior, or Eco-Worrier?" from ASU English on Vimeo.

The Department of English at ASU presents Professor Sir Jonathan Bate, playwright, biographer, scholar, and Provost of Worcester College, Oxford, in a lecture supported by the Office of the Provost. Bate, who has just published a much-heralded biography of British poet laureate Ted Hughes, presented the talk, "Ted Hughes: Eco-Warrior, or Eco-Worrier?"

A well-known as a biographer, critic, broadcaster and scholar, Jonathan Bate is Provost of Worcester College and Professor of English Literature in the University of Oxford. He has wide-ranging research interests in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature, Romanticism, biography and life-writing, ecocriticism, contemporary poetry and theatre history. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature, as well as an Honorary Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge. Before moving to Oxford in 2011, he was a Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, then King Alfred Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool, and then Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick. He is a Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company, broadcasts regularly for the BBC, writes for the Guardian, Times, TLS and Sunday Telegraph, and has held visiting posts at Yale and UCLA. In 2006 he was awarded a CBE in the Queen's 80th Birthday Honours for his services to higher education and in 2015 he was knighted in the New Year Honours for services to literary scholarship and higher education.

Bate is renowned in the field of ecocriticism, having published what is considered “the first ecological reading of English literature”—his Song of the Earth (Picador/Harvard UP, 2000). Previously, in his Romantic Ecology (Routledge 1991), Bates articulated the conservationist influence of William Wordsworth’s poetry; the work has been enormously influential on later Romanticist work on literature and the environment. In his award-winning biography of John Clare (2003), Bates discussed the laborer-poet’s interest in environmental fragility and ecological change, calling him “an ecologist, before his time; a conservationist.”

Bate is also an advocate for the importance of humanities education. In an interview published in British Academy Review (February 2014), he said “one of the reasons for studying the humanities is precisely that the humanities draw our attention to big, valuable, important things that cannot be contained or constrained within a model of economic benefit. Beauty, truth – these are difficult, abstract concepts, concepts that defy quantification.”

Monday, Nov. 23, 2015
Old Main, Carson Ballroom
Arizona State University, Tempe campus