Jonathan Bate CBE 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.
`Remarkable ... one of the very best biographies in years' Joyce Carol Oates `I found it as spirited and sympathetic as it is scorching' Bel Mooney, Books of the Year, Daily Mail `A work of head-spinning revelations ... Bate offers a complete picture of Hughes: the man, the work and the restless mythologies that prowled his imagination ... A moving, fascinating biography' The Times `Comprehensive and definitive ... Bate's relaxed prose keeps everything moving anecdotally ... underpinning it all is a vast command of archival material ... He is also a sure guide to the genesis and reception of each of Hughes's major books' Daily Telegraph `Bate captures the great poet in all his wild complexity ... A powerful and clarifying study, richly layered and compelling' Melyn Bragg, Observer `[An] important ... ultimately triumphant biography ... Bate is obviously suited as a biographer and critic. His standing in his academic profession is eminent' Financial Times `Magisterial ... Bate writes with sympathy and perception about Hughes and his poetry. This fine book tells readers as much as they need to know for now' Economist `Bate has read this huge mass of material with a scholar's ability to date and arrange it ... This scrupulous and lucid biography makes it all seem like muddle and self-deception, tormenting to himself and the many who loved him' Guardian `Fascinating' John Preston, Spectator, Books of the Year `Elegantly retells the myth and, occasionally, violence of the story and gives it new flesh', Philip Hoare, Spectator, Books of the Year `The most controversial biography of the year', Gaby Wood, Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year `Epic in both scale and voice' Independent, Books of the Year `Manages to illuminate the poet's lowering literary presence' Financial Times, Books of the Year `A great present idea for the literary fan in your life. Bate's fascinating biography is a painstaking exploration of Hughes' Mail on Sunday