She was a fellow of Girton College, Cambridge, for 30 years. She was later King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge, and later President of Clare Hall. She served as chair of the judges for the Booker Prize in 1997.
Her most intensive literary criticism lies in the field of Victorian studies. Darwin's Plots (1983), in particular, related the form of Victorian novels to Darwinist thinking. Its significance as a work was confirmed by the publication of second edition by Cambridge University Press in 2000. She has also written important collections of essays on Virginia Woolf (The Common Ground, 1996) and on other aspects of the relations of literature and science.
Honours and awards
- Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1998)
- Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2001)
- Oxford University awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Letters (June 2005)
- Harvard University awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Letters (May 2012)
- Meredith: A Change of Masks (1970)
- Darwin's Plots (1983)
- George Eliot (1986)
- Arguing with the Past (1989)
- Open Fields (1996)
- Virginia Woolf: The Common Ground (1996)
- A full bibliography of Gillian Beer's work may be found in:
- Literature, Science, Psychoanalysis, 1830-1970: essays in honour of Gillian Beer (Helen Small, Trudi Tate, editors), Oxford University Press, 2003)
- "Gillian P K Thomas". England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916-2005. Ancestry.com. Retrieved 29 May 2011. "Name: Gillian P K Thomas; Mother's Maiden Surname: Burley; Date of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar 1935; Registration district: Surrey Mid Eastern; Inferred County: Kent; Volume Number: 2a; Page Number: 405" (subscription required)
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
- "Gillian P K Thomas". England & Wales, Marriage Index: 1916-2005. Ancestry.com. Retrieved 29 May 2011. "Name: Gillian P K Thomas; Spouse Surname: Beer; Date of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep 1962; Registration district: Cambridge; Inferred County: Cambridgeshire; Volume Number: 4a; Page Number: 627"(subscription required)
- MacLeod, Donald. "Dame Gillian Beer", The Guardian (29 June 2004).
|Awards and achievements|
|Rose Mary Crawshay Prize