Sir John Frank Kermode, FBA (29 November 1919 - 17 August 2010   ) was a British  literary critic best known for his 1967 work and for his extensive book-reviewing and editing.
The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction
He was the Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at
University College London and the King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge University.
Kermode was known for many works of criticism, and also as editor of the popular
Fontana Modern Masters series of introductions to modern thinkers. He was a regular contributor to the and London Review of Books .
The New York Review of Books
Kermode was born on the
Isle of Man, and was educated at Douglas High School for Boys and the  University of Liverpool. He served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, for six years in total, much of it in Iceland.
He began his academic career as a lecturer at
Durham University in 1947. He later taught at the University of Reading, then the University of Bristol. He was named Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London (UCL) from 1967 to 1974. Under Kermode, the UCL English Department chaired a series of graduate seminars which broke new ground by introducing for the first time contemporary French critical theory to Britain.
Kermode was a contributor for several years to the literary and political magazine
and in 1965 became co-editor. He resigned within two years, once it became clear that the magazine was funded by the Encounter CIA.
In 1974, Kermode took the position of King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge University. He resigned the post in 1982, at least in part because of the acrimonious
tenure debate surrounding Colin MacCabe. He then moved to Columbia University, where he was Julian Clarence Levi Professor Emeritus in the Humanities. In 1975-76 he held the Norton Lectureship at Harvard University.
He was knighted in 1991.
A few months before Kermode's death the scholar
James Shapiro described him as "the best living reader of Shakespeare anywhere, hands down".
Kermode died in
Cambridge on 17 August 2010.
Kermode was married twice. He was married to Maureen Eccles, from 1947 to 1970. The couple had twins. His second marriage was to the American scholar Anita Van Vactor. The couple co-edited
The Oxford Book of Letters (1995).
In September 1996 he had boxes containing valuable books and manuscripts removed and destroyed in a dustcart by a Cambridge City Council refuse collection team (instead of the removal company employed to move them to another house). He sued CCC for £20,000; the Council denied responsibility.
University of Durham (1947-49) Lecturer,
University of Reading (1949-58) John Edward Taylor Professor of English Literature,
University of Manchester (1958-65) Winterstoke Professor of English,
University of Bristol (1965-67) Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature,
University College London (1967-74) Honorary Fellow,
University College London (1996-2010)
King Edward VII Professor of English Literature, University of Cambridge (1974-82) Fellow,
King's College, Cambridge (1974-87) Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry,
Harvard University (1977-78) Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities,
Columbia University (1982-84) Honorary Fellow, King's College, Cambridge (1988-2010)
Mr Frank Kermode (1919-58)
Prof. Frank Kermode (1958-73)
Prof. Frank Kermode FBA (1973-91)
Prof. Sir Frank Kermode FBA (1991-2010)
English Pastoral Poetry from the Beginnings to Marvell, (1952), Life, Literature and Thought Library, Harrap, ISBN 0-393-00612-3, OCLC 230064261
The Arden Edition of the Works of William Shakespeare: The Tempest (1954) London: Methuen, OCLC 479707500
Seventeenth Century Songs, now first printed from a Bodleian manuscript (1956), ed. with John P. Cutts. Reading University School of Art, OCLC 185784945
John Donne (1957), London: Longmans, Green & Co., ISBN 0-582-01086-1, OCLC 459757847
Romantic Image (1957), Routledge & Kegan Paul, ISBN 0-00-632801-6, OCLC 459757853
The Living Milton: essays by various hands, collected and edited by Frank Kermode (1960), Routledge & Kegan Paul, OCLC 460313451
Wallace Stevens (1961), Evergreen pilot books, EP4, New York: Grove Press, ISBN 0-14-118154-0, OCLC 302326
Puzzles and Epiphanies: essays and reviews 1958-1961 (1962), London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, OCLC 6516698
Discussions of John Donne. Edited with an introduction by Frank Kermode (1962), Boston: D. C. Heath & Co., OCLC 561198453
Spenser and the Allegorists (1962), London: Oxford University Press, OCLC 6126122
William Shakespeare: the final plays (1963), London: Longmans, Green & Co., OCLC 59684048
The Patience of Shakespeare (1964), New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, OCLC 10454934
The Integrity of Yeats (1964), with Donoghue, Denis, Jeffares, Norman, Henn, T. R., and Davie, Donald (1964), Cork: Mercier Press, ISBN 0-88305-482-5, OCLC 1449245
Spenser: selections from the minor poems and The Faerie Queene (1965), London: Oxford University Press, OCLC 671410
On Shakespeare's Learning (1965), Manchester: Manchester University Press, OCLC 222028401
Four Centuries of Shakespearian Criticism (1965) Rouben Mamoulian Collection (Library of Congress) (1965), Avon library, OS2, New York: Avon Books, ISBN 0-380-00058-X, OCLC 854327
The Humanities and the Understanding of Reality (1966), with Beardsley, Monroe C., Frye, Northrop, Bingham, Barry; Thomas B. Stroup, ed. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, OCLC 429358239
(1967; 2nd edition 2000), New York: Oxford University Press, The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction ISBN 0-19-513612-8, OCLC 42072263
Marvell: selected poetry (1962), New York: New American Library, ISBN 0-416-40230-5, OCLC 716175
Continuities (1968), New York: Random House, ISBN 0-7100-6176-5, OCLC 166560
The Poems of John Donne (1968), Cambridge: University Printing House, OCLC 601720173
Shakespeare: King Lear: a casebook (1969), Casebook series, London: Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-333-06003-2
The Metaphysical poets,(1969), Fawcett Pub. Co, OCLC 613406485
On Poetry and Poets by T. S. Eliot (1969) editor
Modern Essays (1970), London: Collins, ISBN 0-00-632439-8, OCLC 490969948
Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne (1971), London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, ISBN 0-00-633168-8, OCLC 637793898
The Oxford Reader: varieties of contemporary discourse (1971), ed. with Poirier, Richard. (1971), New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-501366-2, OCLC 145191
Lawrence (1973), London: Fontana Modern Masters, ISBN 0-670-27130-6, OCLC 628922
The Oxford Anthology of English Literature: The Middle Ages Through the 18th Century (1973) ed. with John Hollander, two vols.
English Renaissance Literature, Introductory Lectures (1974), with Stephen Fender and Kenneth Palmer
The Classic: literary images of permanence and change (1975), New York, Viking Press, ISBN 0-670-22508-8, OCLC 1207405
Selected Prose of T. S. Eliot (1975), London, Faber and Faber, OCLC 299343248
The Genesis of Secrecy: on the interpretation of narrative (1979), Charles Eliot Norton lectures, Cambridge, Massachusetts; London: Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-34525-8, OCLC 441081372
The Art of Telling: essays on fiction (1983), Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-04828-8, OCLC 9283076
Forms of Attention (1985), Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-43168-1, OCLC 11518139
The Literary Guide to the Bible (1987), ed. with Robert Alter, London, Collins & Sons, OCLC 248461187
History and Value (1988), Clarendon lectures and Northcliffe lectures 1987, Oxford: Clarendon Press, ISBN 0-19-812381-7, OCLC 613291093
An Appetite for Poetry: essays in literary interpretation (1989), London: Collins, ISBN 0-00-686181-4, OCLC 20419496
Poetry, Narrative, History (1989), Oxford: Blackwell, ISBN 0-631-17265-3, OCLC 283038643
Andrew Marvell (1990), ed. with Keith Walker, Oxford: New York, Oxford University Press, OCLC 21335465
The Uses of Error (1990), London: Collins, ISBN 0-674-93152-1, OCLC 246587512
An Unmentionable Man (1994), ed. with Edward Upward, London: Enitharmon Press, OCLC 407255162
The Oxford Book of Letters (1995), ed. with Anita Kermode, Oxford: Oxford University Press, OCLC 406986931
Not Entitled: a memoir (1995), New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0-374-18103-9, OCLC 32544681
Stevens: collected poetry and prose (1997), ed. with Joan Richardson, New York: Library of America, ISBN 1-883011-45-0, OCLC 470040871
The Mind Has Mountains: (1999), ed. with Anthony Holden, a.alvarez@lxx et al, Cambridge: Los Poetry Press, OCLC 42309776
Edward Upward: a bibliography 1920-2000 (2000), ed. with Alan Walker, London: Enitharmon Press, OCLC 49843441
Shakespeare's Language (2000), New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0-374-22636-9, OCLC 42772306
Pleasing Myself: from Beowulf to Philip Roth (2001), London: Allen Lane, ISBN 0-7139-9518-1, OCLC 462323235
life.after.theory (interview) (2003), Michael Payne, John Schad, eds.London; New York: Continuum, OCLC 51567851
Pieces of My Mind: writings 1958-2002 (2003) (American edition subtitled essays and criticism 1958-2002), London: Allen Lane, ISBN 0-7139-9673-0, OCLC 52144014
The Age of Shakespeare (2004), London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, ISBN 0-679-64244-7, OCLC 59277844
Pleasure, Change, and Canon (2004), with Robert Alter, The Berkeley Tanner lectures, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-517137-2
The Duchess of Malfi: seven masterpieces of Jacobean drama (annotated edn; 2005), Modern Library, ISBN 978-0-679-64243-5
Concerning E. M. Forster (2009), Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 978-0-374-29899-9 Bury Place Papers: essays from the London Review of Books (2009), London Review of Books, ISBN 978-1-873092-04-0
Margaret Tudeau-Clayton and Martin Warner, editors (1991),
Addressing Frank Kermode. Essays in Criticism and Interpretation Christopher J. Knight (2003), Uncommon Readers: Denis Donoghue, Frank Kermode, George Steiner, and the Tradition of the Common Reader