Anna Beer is a writer, lecturer and researcher who specialises in the literature and culture of sixteenth and seventeenth century England. She was Lecturer in Literature at the Department for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford between 2003 and 2010, and remains a Fellow of Kellogg College. She has published two literary biographies: Bess: The Life of Lady Raleigh, Wife to Sir Walter and, in celebration of the subject's quatercentenary, Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer and Patriot. Peter Ackroyd describes the latter as, among other things, "a persuasive reading of the power and complexity of Paradise Lost," while former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion esteems it "a reliable guide to nonspecialists" and "the anniversary present he [Milton] deserves." Philip Pullman called it 'a beautifully clear account of a richly complex life...Fascinatingly vivid...It's the best narrative I've read of the life of our greatest public poet'. The first biography of Bess Ralegh was also received well: 'Anna Beer tells a fascinating story wonderfully well...A brilliant blend of biography, political narrative and social history'.
Beer's peculiar interest as a biographer is "the relationship between literature, politics and history," which informs especially her life of Milton. Her Milton podcast (for Oxford University) can be found on http://media.conted.ox.ac.uk/video/johnmilton.mp4?CAMEFROM=podcastsGET.
- Ackroyd, Peter. "Peter Ackroyd examines the legacy of Milton." The Times. 22 February 2008. (accessed April 6, 2010).
- Beer, Anna. Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer and Patriot. 1st Edition. St Ives Printing and Publishing Company: Bloomsbury, 2008.
- Beer, Anna. John Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer and Patriot. Lecture. Produced by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. Performed by Anna Beer. 2008.
- Crown, Sarah, and Anna Beer. "Anna Beer on her new biography of poet John Milton." The Guardian Books Podcast. 2008. Podcast.
- guardian.co.uk. "Anna Beer." guardian.co.uk. 6 April 2010. (accessed April 6, 2010).
- Motion, Andrew. "The mystery of genius." The Guardian. 19 January 2008. (accessed April 6, 2010).
- Ackroyd 2008.
- Motion 2008.
- Kathryn Hughes, the Mail on Sunday
- guardian.co.uk 2008.