Jacqueline Simpson

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Jacqueline Simpson (born 1930) is a prolific, award-winning British researcher and author on folklore.[1]


Simpson studied English Literature and Medieval Icelandic at Bedford College, University of London. She has been, at various times, Editor, Secretary, and President of the Folklore Society. She was awarded the Society's Coote Lake Research Medal in 2008. In 2010 she was appointed Visiting Professor of Folklore at the Sussex Centre of Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy at the University of Chichester, West Sussex. She has a particular interest in local legends (as opposed to international fairy tales), and has published collections of this genre from Iceland, Scandinavia in general, and England (the latter in collaboration with the late Jennifer Westwood). She has also written on the folklore of various English regions, and was co-author with Steve Roud of the Penguin Dictionary of English Folklore.[1]

She has been a point of reference for Terry Pratchett since he met her at a book signing in 1997. Pratchett, who was then researching his novel Carpe Jugulum, was asking everyone in the queue how many "magpie" rhymes they knew; and while most people gave one answer – the theme from the TV series Magpie – Simpson was able to supply considerably more. According to Pratchett's version of their conversation, there were "about nineteen", but she suspects this is creative embroidery. Their encounter eventually led to collaboration.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Simpson lives in West Sussex, England.[1]

Selected publications[edit]



  • Simpson, Jacqueline (1965). The Northmen Talk. A Choice of Tales from Iceland, Phoenix House/Dent, & University of Wisconsin Press
  • Simpson, Jacqueline (1965). The Northmen talk. A choice of tales from Iceland. Translated and with introduction by Jacqueline Simpson, with a foreword by Eric Linklater. London; Madison: Phoenix House ; University of Wisconsin Press. OCLC 854594779.
  • Garmonsway, George Norman; Simpson, Jacqueline (1968). Beowulf and its analogues. Translated by G. N. Garmonsway and Jacqueline Simpson. Including Archaeology and Beowulf by Hilda Ellis Davidson. With plates. London; New York: J. M. Dent & Sons ; E. P. Dutton & Co. OCLC 854579522.
  • Partridge, Eric; Simpson, Jacqueline (1972). The Penguin dictionary of historical slang. Harmondsworth. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-051046-1. OCLC 1055222502.
  • Simpson, Jacqueline; Galsworthy, Gay (1973). The folklore of Sussex. London: Batsford. ISBN 978-0-7134-0240-7. OCLC 696765.
  • Simpson, Jacqueline (1976). The folklore of the Welsh border. London: B.T. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-7134-3163-6. OCLC 2817771.
  • Simpson, Jacqueline (1980). British dragons. London: Batsford. ISBN 978-0-7134-2559-8. OCLC 925252186.
  • Simpson, Jacqueline; Wilson, Eva (1987). Everyday life in the Viking age. New York: Dorset Press. ISBN 978-0-88029-146-0. OCLC 878615912.
  • Simpson, Jacqueline (1987). European mythology. New York: P. Bedrick Books. ISBN 978-0-87226-044-3. OCLC 14214952.
  • Simpson, Jacqueline; Gowdy, Caroline (1989). Scandinavian Folktales (Penguin Folklore Library / Puffin) ISBN 0-14-059505-8
  • Simpson, Jacqueline; Roud, Stephen (2003). A dictionary of English folklore. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-860766-3. OCLC 53193764.
  • Simpson, Jacqueline (2004) Icelandic Folktales and Legends (Revealing History) 2nd ed., NPI Media Group, ISBN 0-7524-3045-9
  • Simpson, Jacqueline; Westwood, Jennifer. (2005; reissued 2006). The Lore of the Land: a Guide to England's Legends, from Spring-heeled Jack to the Witches of Warboys, Penguin ISBN 0-14-100711-7 ISBN 0-14-102103-9
  • The Folklore of Discworld (with Terry Pratchett), Doubleday (2008) ISBN 978-0-385-61100-8. 2nd, enlarged edition. Corgi 2009 ISBN 978-0-55215-493-2. 3rd enlarged edition, Corgi (2014) ISBN 978-0-552-15493-2 (same ISBN as 2nd edition)
  • Simpson, Jacqueline (2010). Elves: nasty or nice?. Wincanton, Somerset: Discworld Emporium :. OCLC 1152655117.
  • Simpson, Jacqueline (2010). Green Men and White Swans: the Folklore of British Pub Names, Random House Books ISBN 1-84794-515-5


  1. ^ a b c Jacqueline Simpson Archived 2013-07-07 at the Wayback Machine, Penguin Books
  2. ^ Pratchett, T. & Simpson, J. The Folklore of Discworld, Introduction by Terry Pratchett. Transworld Publishers, 2008