Dame Hermione Lee

Professor Dame Hermione Lee is a renowned biographer and President of Wolfson College. She grew up in London  where she went to school at the French Lycée, the City of London School for Girls, and Queen's College. She took a first-class degree in English Literature from St Hilda's College Oxford in 1968 and an MPhil from St Cross College in 1970.

She has taught at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, at the University of Liverpool (where she was given an Honorary DLitt in 2002) and at the University of York, from 1977 to 1998, where she had a personal Chair in the Department of English and Related Literature, and where she received an Honorary DLitt in 2007.

She was the Goldsmiths' Professor of English Literature at New College from 1998 to 2008, when she took up the Presidency of Wolfson College. She is the literature Delegate to Oxford University Press and serves on the University's Recognition of Distinction Committee.

She is a Fellow of the British Academy, where she is a member of the Publications Committee, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda's and St Cross College, Oxford, and a member of the Athenaeum Club. In 2003 she was made a CBE for services to literature and became a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In the USA, she has been a visiting teaching fellow at the Beinecke Library at Yale University, a Whitney J Oates Fellow at the Council for the Humanities at Princeton, an Everett Helm visiting fellow at the Lilly Library at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, and the Mel and Lois Tukman Fellow of the New York Public Library's Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers in 2004-5.

Hermione Lee has written widely on women writers, American literature, life-writing, and modern fiction. Her books include The Novels of Virginia Woolf (1977), a study of the Anglo-Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen (1981, revised 1999), a short critical book, the first published in Britain, on Philip Roth (1982), a critical biography of the American novelist Willa Cather, Willa Cather: A Life Saved Up (1989, reissued in a revised edition by Virago in 2008), and a major biography of Virginia Woolf (1996), which won the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay prize and was named as one of the New York Times Book Review's best books of 1997. She has also published a collection of essays on biography and autobiography, Body Parts: Essays on Life-Writing (2005), and a biography of Edith Wharton, published to considerable acclaim in 2007 by Chatto & Windus and Knopf. She has edited and introduced numerous editions and anthologies, of Kipling, Trollope, Virginia Woolf, Stevie Smith, Elizabeth Bowen, Willa Cather, Eudora Welty, and Penelope Fitzgerald. She was one of the co-editors of the Oxford Poets Anthologies from 1999 to 2002.

Hermione Lee is also well-known for her reviewing, most recently in the Guardian, and her work in the media. From 1982 to 1986 she presented Channel Four's first books programme, 'Book Four', and she contributes regularly to 'Front Row' and other radio arts programmes. She was Chair of the Judges for the ManBooker Prize for Fiction in 2006, and has judged many other literary prizes. She has served on the literature advisory panels of the Arts Council and the British Council.

She is married to John Barnard, Professor Emeritus of English Literature at the University of Leeds.

More information can be found on Hermione Lee's website.

News
Events

The latest from Wolfson College

Balcony view from the Harbour lawn
8 July 2020
Refurbishment of the balcony

This project has been given the go-ahead as part of the Estates Strategy to improve our College buildings and environment.

Plans and Prospects Front cover
30 June 2020
Wolfson: Plans and Prospects 2020 out now

The 2020 edition of the annual College magazine brings readers up to date with all the latest news and activities from Wolfson. 

30 June 2020
Great success for Student Hardship Auction

The auction was a great success, raising over £12,500 for students in need as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Our upcoming events

Courses and Workshops
13 - 26
Jul Jul
Early Hindi & Brajbhasha Workshop
Monday 13 July - 3:00pm to Sunday 26 July - 4:00pm

This international workshop brings together scholars and students of literature in Brajbhasha and other forms of of Early Hindi (including Avadhi, Hindavi, Rajasthani, and Maithili), as well as related languages and literary idioms. During the workshop we read and discuss texts on which a particular academic is working.

Parties and Dinners
01 - 01
Aug Aug
Degree Day
Saturday 1 August - 11:00am to 3:30pm

Preceding the degree ceremony in the Sheldonian Theatre at 14:30, the College hosts the Signing of the Graces and a celebratory reception for our graduands and their family and friends. This event is by invitation only; please see the degree days page on our website for further information. 

Parties and Dinners
07 - 07
Aug Aug
Degree Day
Friday 7 August - 11:00am to 3:30pm

Preceding the degree ceremony in the Sheldonian Theatre at 14:30, the College hosts the Signing of the Graces and a celebratory reception for our graduands and their family and friends. This event is by invitation only; please see the degree days page on our website for further information.