George Brown did his undergraduate studies as a Jesuit at St. Louis University, and, after gaining an advanced degree in philosophy, he received an M.A. in English. In Innsbruck, Austria, he studied theology for four years. After further studies in Europe he went to Harvard for his doctorate in English. He has studied paleography (Greek and Latin manuscripts) in St. Louis, Los Angeles, Oxford, London, and Rome. Following two years' teaching at St. Louis University, Brown came to Stanford in 1971. For a number of years he was head of the Medieval Studies Program. Recipient of the Dinkelspiel award for his contribution to Stanford education, he teaches Old and Middle English language and literature, history of the English language, post-classical Latin, theology and medieval literature, monasticism, Arthurian literature, humanities, and (in the library department of Special Collections) paleography. He gave the Centennial Lectures at the University of New Mexico in 1989, the Toller Lecture at the University of Manchester in 1994, and in 1996, while a fellow of University College, Durham University, he gave the Jarrow Lecture at the Bede Foundation, Jarrow. He is a member or officer in local, national, and international professional organizations, and has functioned as plenary speaker; he is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Associates of the Stanford University Libraries (ASUL) and a Board Member of the Chaucer and Co. theatre group. Besides serving as an editor and reviewer for a number of publications and presses, he writes on Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Latin literature, history, theology, and manuscripts, resulting in articles and essays on Beowulf, Old English verse, Bede (on whom he has written a book) and Alcuin. He is currently editing Bede's historical works for the Corpus Christianorum Series Latina (Brepols).
Although he spends most of his days happily teaching classes and working in the library, he enjoys various activities, such as gardening and sports (he was a ski instructor). He and his family like to travel.