Frank Kermode was an English academic and critic. The Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro called him: ‘the best living reader of Shakespeare anywhere, hands down’.

During his career, broken by wartime service in the Royal Navy, Kermode held senior posts at University College London, Cambridge (here he found ‘a cauldron of unholy hates’) and Harvard. He was both a prolific writer - on everyone from Donne and Milton to T.S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens - and one of the scholars who introduced French critical theory to this country. In 1965, he became co-editor of Encounter but resigned when it became clear the magazine was funded by the CIA. He was later instrumental in the founding of the London Review of Books.