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  • Julian Yates
    University of Delaware
    Department of English
    129 Memorial Hall
    Newark, DE 19716
    (302) 831-4130
    Office Hours: TuTh, 1 - 2 p.m. & by appointment


    Julian Yates received his B.A. (Hons.) in English Language and Literature from St. Anne’s College, Oxford University in 1990 and PhD in English Literature from UCLA in 1996. He specializes in Medieval and Renaissance British Literature, literary theory, material culture studies, and questions of ecology / environmental humanities. 

    He is the author of some thirty essays on Medieval and Renaissance literature and culture, questions of ecology, literary theory; and author or editor of four books: Error, Misuse, Failure: Object Lessons from the English Renaissance (University of Minnesota Press, 2003), which was a finalist for the MLA Best First Book Prize; What’s the Worst Thing You Can Do To Shakespeare? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), co-authored with Richard Burt; Object-Oriented Environs in Early Modern England (Oliphant Books, forthcoming 2015), co-edited with Jeffrey Jerome Cohen; and The Multispecies Impression (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming 2016). 

    Professor Yates’s research has been supported by grants and awards from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, at the Huntington Library; University of Pennsylvania’s Humanities Forum; a long-term NEH award at the Folger Shakespeare Library; and a Franklin Award from the American Philosophical Society.


  • Ph.D., English Literature, UCLA, 1996
  • M.A., English Literature, UCLA, 1993
  • B.A., English and American Literature and Language, St. Anne's College - Oxford University, 1990

Research Projects 


  • What's the Worst Thing You Can Do to Shakespeare?
    Yates, Julian; Richard Burt
    London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

    ​What's the worst thing you can do to Shakespeare? The answer is simple: don't read him. To that end, Richard Burt and Julian Yates embark here on a project of un/reading the Bard, through both reverent and irreverent discourse. Addressing recent critical debates around problems of print and performance, works in media theory and deconstruction, and film adaptations, the chapters uncover areas of confluence and reveal the inventive ways in which these areas respond to each other. Ultimately, this book turns conventional challenges into a roadmap for textual analysis and a thorough reconsideration of the plays in light of their absorption into global culture.

  • Error, Misuse, Failure: Object Lessons from the English Renaissance
    Yates, Julian
    Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003.

    Drawing object lessons from failing technological devices, Error, Misuse, Failure plumbs the foundations of Renaissance culture in England, recovering a curious language of mistakes, dirt, and parasitism that associates the failures of these "things" with the figures of Rome, Catholicism, and Sodom. This book is one of the first forays into translating the philosophical insights of Michel Serres and Bruno Latour into Renaissance Studies. It does so with an eye to the potential these two thinkers have for rethinking our received histories and ways of reading.

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