James Simpson (academic)
- Educated at Scotch College (1966–1971)
- Arts Degree with Honours at Melbourne University, Melbourne (1976)
- Master of Philosophy, University of Oxford 1980
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Cambridge (1996)
Simpson has worked in academia in Australia, the UK, and the USA, where he has taught medieval literature. He was a University Lecturer in English at the University of Cambridge (1989-1999), Fellow and College Lecturer at Girton College, University of Cambridge (1989–1999) and Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at the University of Cambridge (1999–2003). He then worked at Harvard University (2003-) where he was appointed "Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English" (2004-).
- Paget Toynbee Dante Alighieri Prize, Oxford University (1980)
- Jane Herbert Memorial Fellowship, Westfield College, University of London (1987)
- Life Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge University
- Honorary Fellow, Australian Academy of the Humanities (2003)
- John Hurt Fisher Prize - “Significant Contribution to the Field of John Gower Studies,” John Gower Society (2003)
- British Academy Sir Israel Gollancz Prize - Reform and Cultural Revolution (2007)
- Silver Medal, Independent Publisher Book Awards - Religion category (2008) for "Burning to Read"
Simpson’s work is centred on the shape and logic of literary works in their historical context. He believes that the purpose of literature and other art forms is "to hear the voices repressed by official forms of a given culture."
His early work focused on literary criticism and historical contextualization of poetry, especially the late 14th century English poem, Piers Plowman and Medieval Humanism from the 12th to the late 14th centuries (e.g. Alan of Lille’s Anticlaudianus and John Gower’s Confessio Amantis). In 2002, "The Oxford English Literary History: 1350-1547 : reform and cultural revolution" was awarded the British Academy Sir Israel Gollancz Prize.
Simpson began to study the way that cultural pressures, particularly the immense pressure of the Reformation in England, shaped the definition and reception of pre-Reformation literature. His work Burning to Read centres on the fundamentalist Bible reading in the early 16th century. Under the Hammer: Iconoclasm in the Anglo-American Tradition defines the long and unending history of image breaking in Anglo-American culture, leading up to, across, and beyond the Reformation. Permanent Revolution: the Reformation and the Illiberal Roots of Liberalism defines the English Reformation as a long period of revolution, with all the cultural features of revolutionary movements, and asserts that Liberalism was the answer to the violence-producing pressures produced.
- Piers Plowman: An Introduction to the B-Text (Harlow, Essex: Longman, 1990)
- Sciences and the Self in Medieval Poetry: Alan of Lille’s “Anticlaudianus” and John Gower’s “Confessio amantis”, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature, 25 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)
- Reform and Cultural Revolution, 1350-1547, Vol 2 of The Oxford English Literary History (Oxford University Press, 2002)
- Piers Plowman: An Introduction to the B-Text, second, revised edition (Exeter: Exeter University Press, 2007)
- Burning to Read: English Fundamentalism and its Reformation Opponents (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007)
- Under the Hammer: Iconoclasm in the Anglo-American Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)
- Reynard the Fox: A New Translation (New York: Liveright/Norton, 2015)
- Permanent Revolution: The Reformation and the Illiberal Roots of Liberalism (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2019)
- Medieval English Religious and Ethical Literature: Essays in Honour of G. H. Russell, edited by Gregory Kratzmann and James Simpson (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1986, 250 pp. 133–153
- Images, Idolatry and Iconoclasm in Late Medieval England, edited by Jeremy Dimmick, James Simpson and Nicolette Zeeman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), xiv + 250 pp. 2005]
- John Lydgate: Poetry, Culture, and Lancastrian England, ed. Larry Scanlon and James Simpson (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006)]
- The Norton Anthology of English Literature, General Editors Stephen Greenblatt and M. H. Abrams; “The Middle Ages”, ed. Alfred David and James Simpson (New York: W. W. Norton, 2006), 1-484
- John Hardyng, Chronicle: Edited from British Library MS Lansdowne 204, co-edited with Sarah Peverley (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2015)
- "James Simpson". Scholars at Harvard. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
- "Events - Professor James Simpson". University of Melbourne. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- English: Graduate & alumni profiles - Melbourne University
- "John Hurt Fisher Award". The International John Gower Society. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
2003 James Simpson
- "Sir Israel Gollancz Prize". The British Academy. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
2007 Professor James Simpson
- "Independent Publisher Book Awards 2008". Independent Publisher Book Awards. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
Silver: Burning to Read, by James Simpson (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)
- Simpson, James (7 April 2017). "Great Literature Magnifies Repressed Voices, Always". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
Nothing could be more depressing than to see a literature curriculum determined by identity politics with dutiful representation from the required range of underrepresented groups. Nothing, that is, except a literature curriculum that betrayed the fundamental function of literature and other art forms, which is to hear the voices repressed by official forms of a given culture. All great literature magnifies the repressed voice
- Piers Plowman: An Introduction to the B-Text, Longman Medieval and Renaissance Library, 1 (Harlow, Essex: Longman, 1990)
- ""Sciences and the Self in Medieval Poetry: Alan of Lille's Anticlaudianus and John Gower's Confessio Amantis" James Simpson, Cambridge University Press, 13 Oct 2005". Google Books. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
- "The Oxford English Literary History: 1350-1547 : reform and cultural revolution".
- "Burning to Read".
- Under the Hammer: Iconoclasm in the Anglo-American Tradition (OUP, 2010)
- Permanent Revolution: the Reformation and the Illiberal Roots of Liberalism (Belknap Press/Harvard U Press, 2019)