John Coates

John Coates

15.9.1943 - 26.1.2020


John David Coates (MA Cambridge, PhD Exeter), born 1943 and a member of the staff of Hull University until his retirement, had a particular interest in Edwardian and early twentieth century literature. He was married to the poet Carole Coates.

New Publication

Kipling the Trickster
Knowingness, Practical Jokes and the Use of Superior Knowledge in Kipling's Short Stories
ISBN: 978-1-80079-341-5

When John Coates died in January 2020 he left the manuscript of this book on Kipling, which has now been published.

"Kipling's knowledge and enjoyment of hoaxes are often mentioned in discussions of his work, but John Coates provides a thorough, absorbing and illuminating exploration of these aspects and their significance, offering readers what almost amounts to a "new Kipling".
                           Professor Harry Ricketts, Victoria University of Wellington






John Coates's earlier publications, available through Amazon, include

Chesterton and the Edwardian Cultural Crisis (1984)
ISBN 085958-444-5

“John Coates's stimulating study firmly locates Chesterton's writing in the context of contemporary debate.” Prose Studies

“This scholarly study putting Chesterton back within the cultural context which produced his writing is a welcome contribution to the growing literature on him.” Times Higher Education Supplement

“The most important study of Chesterton yet to appear.” Seven: An Anglo American Review

Combative Styles (1994) (with Bruce Woodcock)
ISBN 085958-621-9

“Coates has used to good effect a knowledge not only of Burke's views and of the history to which he refers but also of the classical sources and rhetorical precepts he invokes. The result is a series of readings which are both rounded and cogent.” British Journal of Aesthetics

The Day's Work: Kipling and the Idea of Sacrifice (1997)
ISBN 0-8386-3574-X

“The detailed readings of the various texts are never less than interesting, informed as they are by depth of scholarship.” English Literature in Transition

“From the outset of his excellent book John Coates proposes a view of Kipling different from those currently on offer. For a neat demonstration of his thesis Coates delivers a refined and scholarly reading of 'The Mark of the Beast'.” Victorian Studies

Social Discontinuity in the Work of Elizabeth Bowen (1998)
ISBN 07734-8259-8

“In contrast to the many rather general treatments of Elizabeth Bowen…John Coates [on The Death of the Heart ] is valuably specific and detailed. [John Coates on The Heat of the Day ] offers a fine argument for that novels awkward integrity.” Year's Work in English Studies

Chesterton as Controversialist, Essayist, Novelist and Critic (2002)
ISBN 07734-7096-4

“Not only does Coates achieve his purpose but in terms of importance, GK Chesterton as Controversialist, Essayist, Novelist and Critic , like Coates' earlier study…represents one of the most important studies of Chesterton to appear.” Seven: An Anglo American Literary Review

“This is a fascinating work, written with an elegant simplicity, but profound for all that…The work is the product of a distinguished and discriminating mind, and it is a pleasure to commune with it.” The Chesterton Review

“[Coates's] arguments are telling and one comes away from this work, with a sense that Chesterton is indeed central to many of the issues that most concern us…[Coates's] discussion of Chesterton's beliefs and their reflection in his writing is admirable.” Utopian Studies

“John D Coates [is] perhaps the leading contemporary Chesterton scholar.” The Christian Century, May 2008

The Rhetorical Use of Provocation as a Means of Persuasion in the Writings of Walter Pater (1839-1894), English Essayist and Cultural Critic: Pater as Controversialist (2011)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7734-1504-1
ISBN-10: 0-7734-1504-1

"will be essential reading for anyone interested in Pater... and as a collection, it makes a central contribution to Pater studies"
Dr Sheridan Gilley, Durham University

" an indispensable book in modern English literary criticism, North Atlantic cultural history and modern intellectual history"
Professor Owen Dudley-Edwards, University of Edinburgh

"John Coates's recent study on Walter Pater reads as the criticism of one long acquainted with his subject... Each essay gives the felicitous impression of analysis begun enthusiastically, taken up from various angles on different texts with renewed energy. This same method is a strength in some of Pater's own volumes... As Coates moves chronologically through Pater's career he portions off particular passages and treats them with such care and closeness that it leaves the impression of actually reading Pater... Pater as Controversialist will increase and clarify the understanding of Pater both for newcomers and those already familiar with him... Coates's own style is strong and clear and pleasurable to read... In all Pater as Controversialist is a welcome volume to Pater criticism because it asks many questions about Pater's work and how we approach it today. "
The British Journal of Aesthetics 2011

from The Pater Newsletter, issue 61/62 Spring Fall 2012.

The value of this book lies in the patience with which it contextualises Pater's intellectual positions and follows the involutions of this thought within given texts. A sincere appreciation for Pater as both a thinker and a stylist suffuses the writing, and Coates exemplifies the virtue he most admires in Pater: critical tact...

(Coates') image of Pater produces many beautiful readings of his work.... This book provides a richly detailed and thoughtful study of the “late” Pater of “merciful second thoughts”.... The intellectual contexts provided by Coates are often interesting in themselves and bring the distinctiveness of Pater's own sensibility into focus.

John Coates has also published more than one hundred papers in various journals, including Shakespeare Survey, Essays in Criticism, The Modern Language Review, Prose Studies, Papers in Language and Literature and Comparative Literature Studies.

John died suddenly and unexpectedly on the 26th of January, 2020. His obituary can be found in The Guardian Other Lives web pages

Last updated 09.08.21 cs