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Ian Donaldson

literary criticism
aboriginal australians
performing arts
dramatists, english
william shakespeare
arts & humanities
Ian Donaldson's Profile Picture

Ian Donaldson

Primary Interest
Ian Donaldson's Profile Picture

Ian Donaldson


Emeritus Professor Ian Donaldson is a graduate of Melbourne and Oxford Universities. He was tutorial Fellow in English at Wadham College Oxford throughout the 1960s, and with F. W. Bateson and Christopher Ricks edited the Oxford journal Essays in Criticism.

He returned to Australia in 1969 as Professor of English at the ANU, and in 1974 was appointed founding Director of the ANU’s newly established Humanities Research Centre. In 1991 he moved to Scotland as Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. He was appointed Grace 1 Professor of English at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of King’s College in 1995. From 2001 he served as founding Director of Cambridge’s new Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and the Humanities (CRASSH), before returning to his old post in Canberra as Director of the HRC. In 2007 he moved to his present position at the University of Melbourne. He has also taught at the University of California Santa Barbara, and at Cornell University.

He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and Fellow and Past President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He is Emeritus Professor and honorary D.Univ. at ANU, and honorary D.Litt. of the University of Melbourne, where he is also a Fellow of Trinity College.

His books include The World Upside-Down: Comedy From Jonson to Fielding (1970), Ben Jonson: Poems (1975), The Rapes of Lucretia: A Myth and its Transformations (1982), Ben Jonson (1985), Jonson’s Magic Houses: Essays in Interpretation (1997), and Ben Jonson: A Life (2011). He is a General Editor, with David Bevington and Martin Butler, of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson, published as Print Edition in 7 volumes in 2012, and as an Online Edition (of roughly four times that size) in 2015-16. He is currently working on a book provisionally entitled The Death of Shakespeare: Literary Britain in 1616, and an account of touching and its taboos.

Scholarly Works

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Honours, Awards and Fellowships


FRSE - Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh


FBA - Fellow of the British Academy


FAHA - Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities






Culture And Communication


Honorary Doctor of the University

Australian National University

Honorary Doctor of Letters

University of Melbourne