William James Simpson
- 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 Fellow and College Lecturer at Girton College (1989–1999), a professor at the University of Cambridge (1999–2003), before accepting an appointment at Harvard University, where since 2006 he is the Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English.
- Silver Medal, Independent Publisher Book Awards - Religion category (2008)
- British Academy Sir Israel Gollancz Prize - Reform and Cultural Revolution (2007)
- 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)
- Jane Herbert Memorial Fellowship, Westfield College, University of London (1987)
- Paget Toynbee Dante Alighieri Prize, Oxford University (1980)
His early work centred on literary analysis of poetry, especially the late 14th century English poem, Piers Plowman. He later worked on Medieval Humanism. In 2002, he published an award winning literary history. His most recent work, "Burning to Read" centres on the fundamentalist Bible reading in the early 16th century.
- 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 University Press USA, 2011)
- Reynard the Fox: A New Translation (2015)
- 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 Lydgate: Poetry, Culture, and Lancastrian England, ed. Larry Scanlon and James Simpson (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006)]
- 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]
- 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
- English: Graduate & alumni profiles - Melbourne University
- Piers Plowman: An Introduction to the B-Text, Longman Medieval and Renaissance Library, 1 (Harlow, Essex: Longman, 1990)
- "The Oxford English Literary History: 1350-1547 : reform and cultural revolution".
- "Burning to Read".