Gill, Gillian 1942–

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Gill, Gillian 1942–

(Gillian C. Gill, Gillian Catherine Gill)

PERSONAL: Born June 12, 1942, in Cardiff, Wales; daughter of William Everitt (a merchant mariner and university teacher) and Esme Catherine (a homemaker) Scobie; married D. Michael Gill (a biochemist and university teacher), April 10, 1965 (deceased); children: Christopher John, Catherine Rebecca. Education: Cambridge University, M.A., Ph.D. Politics: "Left-Liberal-Feminist."

ADDRESSES: Home—Lexington, MA.

CAREER: Educator and writer. Assistant professor of French at Northeastern University, Boston, MA, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, and Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1970–81; real estate broker, 1982–86; Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, professor of literature; writer. Yale University, past resident fellow of Jonathan Edwards College and director of Women's Studies Program.

MEMBER: Modern Language Association of America, Alliance of Independent Scholars (past executive director), National Coalition of Independent Scholars (member of board of directors).

AWARDS, HONORS: National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, 1981–83.


Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries, Free Press (New York, NY), 1990.

Mary Baker Eddy, Perseus Books (Reading, MA), 1998.

(Editor) The Dead Good Time Capsule Book, Engineers of The Imagination (Ulverston, England), 1999.

Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2004.


Luce Irigaray, Speculum of the Other Woman, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1984.

Luce Irigaray, Marine Lover/of Friedrich Nietzsche, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1991.

Contributor to periodicals, including Clinical Infectious Diseases.

SIDELIGHTS: Gillian Gill once told CA: "In 1986, after five years in real estate, I decided that I could not live without books and ideas. I gave myself a few years of financial dependence on my spouse to write a manuscript that would be published and read. This project worked out. Now, newly widowed, I am grateful to have forged a new identity as a writer and part-time teacher. Without my writing I would be lost!"

In her first book, Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries, Gill presents a biography of the famous British mystery writer and culls from Christie's fiction various clues to what Gill sees as Christie's adventurous and robust life. In an interview with Gayle Feldman for Publishers Weekly, Free Press editor Joyce Seltzer commented: "We're hoping the book will force people to reevaluate Christie as a writer and as a woman. It's a very admiring portrait, but whenever a popular icon is seen in a different light, that becomes controversial." Genevieve Stuttaford, also writing in Publishers Weekly, called the biography "extremely satisfying."

Mary Baker Eddy is Gill's biography of the controversial founder of the Christian Science Church. "Balanced, judicious and, above all, skillful at bringing gender to bear as a context lamentably lacking in previous biographies, Gill eschews the polemical tone of most Eddy scholarship and brings a refreshing new angle of vision to her life and achievements," wrote Cynthia D. Schrager in Women's Review of Books. Schrager added: "The passion that drives Gill's meticulously researched and engagingly written work is … her (feminist) indignation at a long line of hostile critics whose virulent 'ad feminam' attacks have sensationalized and pathologized Eddy." Noting that Gill "offers fresh perspectives on the faith's unconventional founder," Books & Culture contributor Jana Riess called Gill's book "the best biography to date" about Eddy.

Gill turns her biographical eye to perhaps the most famous nurse who ever lived in Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale. As the title suggests, Gill explores Florence's Nightingale's entire family and the influence they had on her life and places it all within the context of Victorian society. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted Gill's "brazenly intimate approach to storytelling." The reviewer added: "The book is expansive, richly detailed, generous to a fault; Gill's skills may well set a new standard for the novelistic mode of biography." In a review in Nursing Education Perspectives, Leslie Block commented that "this absorbing biography gives the reader an intimate glimpse into the life of Florence Nightingale and her family." Judith Maas wrote in the Boston Globe that the author "brings sympathy, insight, and a novelist's sense of drama to bear as she explores her subjects' actions, motivations, and struggles."



Booklist, July, 2004, Bryce Christiansen, review of Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale, p. 1808; January 1, 2005, review of Nightingales, p. 766.

Books & Culture, September-October, 2002, Jana Riess, review of Mary Baker Eddy, p. 38.

Boston Globe, November 4, 2004, Judith Maas, review of Nightingales.

Entertainment Weekly, September 3, 2004, Lisa Schwarzbaum, review of Nightingales, p. 79.

Europe Intelligence Wire, August 24, 2004, review of Nightingales.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2004, review of Nightingales, p. 567.

Kliatt, May, 2006, Janet Julian, review of Nightingales, p. 32.

Miami Herald, September 22, 2004, review of Nightingales.

New York Times, October 24, 2004, Miranda Seymour, review of Nightingales.

Nursing Education Perspectives, May-June, 2006, Leslie Block, review of Nightingales, p. 160.

Publishers Weekly, July 6, 1990, Gayle Feldman, "Agatha Christie Centenary: Entertaining all the Way to the Bank," includes discussion of author's biography of Christie, p. 27; August 3, 1990, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries, p. 67; June 14, 2004, review of Nightingales, p. 52.

San Francisco Chronicle, September 5, 2004, Zac Unger, review of Nightingales, p. M-3.

Washington Post, September 12, 2004, Stanley Weintraub, review of Nightingales, p. BW03.

Women's Review of Books, March, 1999, Cynthia D. Schrager, review of Mary Baker Eddy, p. 19.

ONLINE, (October 18, 2006), Jack Goodstein, review of Nightingales.

Daily Telegraph Web site, (May 9, 2004), Anne Chisholm, review of Nightingales.