Books that Changed Humanity: Shakespeare's First Folio

Books that Changed Humanity is an initiative of the Humanities Research Centre, based at the Australian National University. The HRC invites experts to introduce and lead discussion of major texts from a variety of cultural traditions, all of which have informed the way we understand ourselves both individually and collectively as human beings.

Join us as Emeritus Professor Ian Donaldson (University of Melbourne) introduces and discusses William Shakespeare's influential First Folio.


All members of the public are welcome to come, listen, and share their thoughts about this great work of literature over a friendly glass of wine.



Ian Donaldson sits on the Advisory board of the Centre for the History of Emotions. He graduated from The University of Melbourne in 1957, and taught briefly in the Melbourne English Department the following year. He was tutorial Fellow in English at Wadham College at Oxford from 1962 to 1969, CUF Lecturer in English at Oxford from 1963 to 1969, and Chair of the Oxford English Faculty in 1968-9. With F. W. Bateson and Christopher Ricks he edited the Oxford journal Essays in Criticism. He returned to Australia in 1969 as Professor of English at ANU, and in 1974 was appointed Director of the ANU's newly established Humanities Research Centre. He remained in this post until 1991, when he moved to the University of Edinburgh as Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature. In 1995 he was appointed Grace 1 Professor of English at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of King's College, becoming in 2001 the founding Director of Cambridge's new Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and the Humanities (CRASSH). In 2004 he went back to his old post in Canberra as Director of the HRC; and in 2007 returned to 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. 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 Electronic Edition (of roughly four times that size) in 2013. He is currently working on a cultural history of touching and its taboos, provisionally entitled Noli me tangere.

Date & time

Fri 06 Apr 2018, 5.30–7pm


Theatrette, Sir Roland Wilson Building


Emeritus Professor Ian Donaldson (University of Melbourne)


Penny Brew
+61 2 6125 4357


Updated:  6 March 2018/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications