Andrew Cecil Bradley

Professor of Poetry, Oxford

Ideals of Religion

In his series of lectures, A.C. Bradley investigates ‘the common nature of all forms of religion’, acknowledging that such inquiry is limited by the fact that religion is only truly known in its enactment. He concludes that the task of religion is to provide an escape from evil, asserting that God, being infinite, cannot know evil as it is bounded by finitude. In the end, conforming to the will of God and overcoming evil are synonymous.


Andrew Cecil Bradley was born on 26 March 1851 in southwest London. A Professor of Literature and Poetry, he was a highly regarded English critic of Shakespeare. Awarded a fellowship at Balliol College, Oxford in 1874, he was appointed Lecturer in English and soon after in Philosophy, where he remained until 1881. He became the first to hold the Chair of Literature and History at University College, Liverpool, and then moved to the University of Glasgow as Chair of English Language and Literature. In 1900, though intending to retire, he became Professor of Poetry at Oxford. 

Awarded honorary degrees by the universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, and Durham, he was elected to the British Academy in 1907. Notable works include A Commentary on Tennyson’s In Memoriam (1901), Shakespearean Tragedy (1904), Oxford Lectures on Poetry (1909), A Miscellany (1929), and Ideals of Religion (1940). See also Katherine Cooke’s A. C. Bradley and His Influence in Twentieth-Century Shakespeare Criticism (1972) and G. K. Hunter’s ‘A. C. Bradley’s Shakespearean Tragedy’, in Essays and Studies by Members of the English Association (1968).

Published/Archival Resources
Published as Ideals of Religion.