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Gillian Beer

College positions:
Emeritus Fellow, Honorary Fellow
English Literature, History of Science
Contact details:

Professor Dame Gillian Beer

Dame Gillian was the King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge from 1994 until her retirement in 2002. She is a former President of Clare Hall and now Emeritus Professor and Honorary Fellow of Clare Hall and Girton College.

An Andrew W Mellon Senior Scholar at the Yale Center for British Art from 2010-2012, Dame Gillian is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Literature, and is a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Philosophical Society. She was made a Dame in 1998. She has twice been a judge for the Booker Prize, the second time as Chair, and has been on the board of the Writers’ Centre, Norwich and Arts Council England East. She is President of the British Association for Literature and Science and General Editor of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture.

Among her books are Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction (1983, third edition 2009), Open Fields: Science in Cultural Encounter (1996) and Virginia Woolf: the Common Ground (1996). She has published a series of essays on rhyme and a collected and annotated edition of Lewis Carroll’s poems, Jabberwocky and Other Nonsense (2012). Her Alice in Space: the Sideways Victorian World of Lewis Carroll appears from Chicago University Press in 2016.

Select publications

  • 2016 – Alice in Space: the Sideways Victorian World of Lewis Carroll
  • 1996 – Open Fields: Science in Cultural Encounter
  • 1996 – Virginia Woolf: The Common Ground
  • 1992 – Forging the Missing Link
  • 1989 – Arguing with the Past: essays in narrative from Woolf to Sidney
  • 1986 – George Eliot
  • 1983, 2000, 2009 – Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction
  • 1979 – Delights and Warnings
  • 1970 – Meredith: A Change of Masks
  • 1970 – The Romance

Select awards

  • 2017 – Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism
  • 1998 – DBE
  • 1984 – Rose Mary Crawshay Prize for English Literature