Professor Dame Gillian Patricia Kempster Beer, DBE, FBA (née Thomas; born 27 January 1935) is a British literary critic and academic. She was President of Clare Hall from 1994 to 2001, and King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge from 1994 to 2002.
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 a second edition by Cambridge University Press in 2000 and a third edition in 2009. She has also written important collections of essays on Virginia Woolf (The Common Ground, 1996) and on other aspects of the relations of literature, science, and other academic disciplines.
Honours and awards
- She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1991.
- 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)
- Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism for Alice in Space: The Sideways Victorian World of Lewis Carroll (October 2017)
- Ghent University awarded her an Honorary Doctorate on the recommendation of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy. (March 2018)
- 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)
- Alice in Space: The Sideways Victorian World of Lewis Carroll (2016)
- 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)
- Claire Armitstead, " Gillian Beer: ‘I’m a historical remnant from the great days of free education’, The Guardian, 18 March 2017.
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
- "Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism: Gillian Beer", University of Iowa, October 19, 2017.
- "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
| King Edward VII Professor of English Literature
University of Cambridge
1994 to 2002