Anne Barton – The Astounding Cambridge Fellow

Early Life

Anne Barton was born in the United States in 1933. She devoted her life and became one of the 20th century’s foremost Shakespeare scholars. Anne Barton died in 2013 in Cambridge, UK where she was a professor and Fellow of the University. 

Born in Scarsdale, New York, Anne Barton originally known as Barbara Ann Roesen was the only child of Oscar and Blanche Roesen. During her College years, she attended Bryn Mawr College and studied Renaissance literature with A. C. Sprague. Anne’s talent was quickly identified in her final year paper at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Her paper on ‘Loves Labours Lost’ achieved the distinction of being published in America’s leading journal in her preferred field, known as Shakespeare Quarterly in 1953. This was Anne’s start to her amazing career as a Shakespeare scholar.

Academic Career

In 1954, Anne Barton applied and was accepted to study at Cambridge University in the UK. She arrived at Girton College and wrote a doctoral thesis which was supervised by Muriel Bradbrook, which pointed to Shakespeare’s conception of what a play is and how the drama shows its self-consciousness as a play. 

Anne married William Righter in 1957 and retired to the U.S, teaching at Ithaca College. Divorced in 1960, Anne returned to the UK and became a Research Fellow at Girton College at the University of Cambridge. Her Doctoral thesis supervised by Muriel Bradbrook was successfully published in 1962 as ‘Shakespeare and the Idea of the Play’, and became one of her most influential pieces of work. Anne earned a PhD at Cambridge and in 1963 was appointed as a leading authority and director of Studies in English Renaissance drama and Early Modern literature, while also holding a University Lectureship in the Faculty of English.

While a University lecturer, Anne married her second husband John Barton in 1969 and gained her second name, Barton. John Barton was a British theatre director and teacher at the Royal Shakespeare Company, many of which would say that this was a perfect match sharing their passion for Shakespeare’s plays. Anne and John Barton created a series of productions highly informed by critical analysis. In 1972, she left Cambridge as a lecturer and became a professor in English at Bedford College, London. In 1974, she became the first female fellow of New College in Oxford. In 1984 she returned to Cambridge as a professor and in 1986 became a Fellow of Trinity College at Cambridge University. 

Anne Barton - Cambridge Fellow - The Fellows House

Anne Barton lived the rest of her life in Cambridge, where macular degeneration took over in her last few years. Anne’s memories of a wide range of poetry was untouched and gave her comfort. In the hospital, Anne loved to entertain others by reciting Shakespeare’s sonnets by the score. Anne Barton had a holistic approach to critically examining the work of Shakespeare’s playwrights, and her accuracy of perception brought out the playwright’s brilliance and humanity.

Honouring the famous Anne Barton at The Fellows House

Anne Barton is a highly celebrated Cambridge University Fellow, who made a significant mark in unearthing the subtexts and nuances in Shakespeare’s writing and plays. The Fellows House hotel in Cambridge pays homage to Anne Barton by naming one of the luxury apartments after her name – The Barton Apartment.

This spacious apartment features a Queen-sized bed and modern furnishings throughout. Guests benefit from their own kitchen making this a fantastic option for long-stay visits in Cambridge. The rooms have been designed to offer separate living and sleeping areas which also creates an effortless flow throughout, providing an upscale feel to the apartment. The bathroom comes fully equipped with complimentary luxury beauty and grooming products for a convenient stay. The apartment celebrates the life and achievements of Anne Barton, with unique artwork that represents this incredible Cambridge Fellow.

The Barton Apartment in Cambridge - The Fellows House

The Fellows House dedicates its apartments to a variety of Cambridge Fellows, so whether you are staying in Cambridge for business or leisure, feel free to explore the other luxury spacious apartments dedicated to Fellows like Isaac Newton, Alan Turing and John Hicks.


Afternoon Tea

Offered from Thursdays through to Sundays from 12:00 to 16:30 at The Folio Bar & Kitchen.