Professor Derek Brewer

Photo of Professor Derek Brewer

MA (Oxon and Cantab), LittD, PhD(Birm), Hon LLD (Harvard, Keio), Hon DLitt (Birm, Williams College), Hon DUniv (Liege, Paris IV Sorbonne, York)

Honorary Member of the Japan Academy; Corresponding Fellow; Medieval Academy of America; Honorary Fellow of the English Association

Master 1977-90

Derek Brewer was born in 1923 in Cardiff, educated at The Crypt Grammar School in Gloucester and at Magdalen College Oxford 1941-2 and 1945-7. In 1942-5 he was an infantry officer. In 1949 he was appointed to an Assistant Lectureship in English at the University of Birmingham, where he stayed until 1964, apart from 1956-8 when he held a professorship in a Japanese university. In 1965 he was appointed to a lectureship in English in the University of Cambridge and elected to a Fellowship in Emmanuel. He lectured and supervised on most periods of English literature, though much of his work centred on Chaucer, and had been a Tutor in the College and held various offices in the University. He was elected Master of Emmanuel in 1977, and Professor of English in the University of Cambridge in 1983.

He retired in 1990 and became a Life Fellow of the College. He wrote many books and articles on medieval and later English literature, and won the Seatonian Prize in poetry in the University a number of times. In retirement he continued academic work and travels. He founded a publishing firm for the publication of academic books, now part of Boydell and Brewer Ltd. He was an Honorary Fellow of the English Association, and had several honorary degrees. In 1951 he married Elisabeth Hoole and they had five children. His recreations were reading, walking and travel.

Professor Brewer died on 23 October 2008.