W. James Simpson

W. James Simpson

Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English
W. James Simpson

James Simpson is the Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English at Harvard University (2004-). He was formerly based at the University of Cambridge, where he was a University Lecturer in English (1989-1999) and Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English (1999-2003). He is a Life Fellow of Girton College and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Prof. Simpson was educated at Scotch College Melbourne, Melbourne University (BA) and the University of Oxford (MPhil). He holds a doctorate from the University of Cambridge. His books include: Piers Plowman: An Introduction to the B-Text (Longman, 1990) (second, revised edition, 2007); Sciences and the Self in Medieval Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 1995); Reform and Cultural Revolution, volume 2 in the Oxford English Literary History (Oxford University Press, 2002) (winner of the British Academy Sir Israel Gollancz Prize, 2007); Burning to Read: English Fundamentalism and its Reformation Opponents (Harvard University Press, 2007); Under the Hammer: Iconoclasm in the Anglo-American Tradition (Oxford University Press, 2010); and Permanent Revolution: The Reformation and the Illiberal Roots of Liberalism (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2019). His translation of Reynard the Fox was recently published by Liveright (2015).




B.A. 1976 University of Melbourne

M. Phil. 1980 University of Oxford

M. Phil. 1995 University of Cambridge (by incorporation)

Ph.D. 1996 University of Cambridge

M.A. 2004 Harvard University (by incorporation)



Late medieval and early modern Western European Literature, 1150-1690; the cultural disciplines of revolutionary evangelical modernity, and how we survived them.


Contact Information

Barker Center
12 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Profile Type

Methodologies and Approaches