René Weis was educated at the University of Edinburgh, the Università per stranieri di Perugia, and at UCL, where he has worked since 1980.
In 2014 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts for his 'outstanding contribution to the study and teaching of English Literature'.
Weis’s primary research area is the life and work of Shakespeare. His 1993 Longman edition of the Parallel Text King Lear was singled out by the Year’s Work in English Studies as the single most important contribution of the year to editing Shakespeare.
He edited Romeo and Juliet, Henry IV Part 2, King Lear, John Webster. He wrote an historical narrative on the fate of the Cathars (The Yellow Cross) and the life stories of individuals, which range from Shakespeare (Shakespeare Unbound) Edith Thompson (Criminal Justice) to Marie Duplessis (The Real Traviata).