Dr Michael Simpson

Staff details

Position Senior Lecturer in English Literature
Email m.simpson (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7717 2260
Dr Michael Simpson

Academic qualifications

  • BA (Hons) English, Cambridge University
  • MA Romantic Literature, York University
  • PhD English, Cambridge University

Junior Fellow, Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1994-5; Junior Fellow, Program in British Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 1998-9; appointed Goldsmiths, University of London, 1999.


Prior to appointment at Goldsmiths, Dr Michael Simpson was Visiting Assistant Professor at St Lawrence University, New York, and at Colgate University, New York, where he taught courses on British Romanticism, British literature, and mid-nineteenth-century European and American culture.  

At Goldsmiths, Michael is the convenor of Sensibility & Romanticism (Level 2) and of Oedipus: Myths, Tragedies & Theories (Level 3). He also teaches on the Shakespeare (Level 2) course, and has taught the half-unit course Romantic Shakespeare (Level 3) and on the Explorations in Literature (Level 1) course.

Areas of supervision

Michael is currently supervising the literary-critical components of two MPhil/PhD projects in Creative Writing, on philosophical thought experiments and on the historical novel. He particularly welcomes research proposals on British Romantic literature, drama and theatre, and on postcolonial topics in classical reception studies.

MPhil/PhD projects have included:

  • Voices, Identities and Nations in the Narratives of Maria Edgeworth
  • Romanticism and Socialism in William Morris
  • The Novels of Mary Shelley and William Godwin.

Plus Masters of Research (MRes) projects on hypertext fiction and theory, and on sexuality in the prophetic books of William Blake.

Featured work

Invited lectures and papers

  • The Byron Society, the Swedenborg Society, Whitechapel Gallery; and the Universities of Cambridge, Greenwich, Reading, St. Lawrence, and Texas at Austin

 Conferences organised

  • 'Poetry and the Olympics - ancient and modern', at Goldsmiths, University of London, March 2012
  • 'Thinking the Olympics: modern bodies, classical minds?', at the Institute for Classical Studies, University of London, September 2008 (co-organised with Barbara Goff)
  • 'Romantic Drama in Place: geography, scene, milieu', at the University of Texas at Austin, April 1998 (co-organised with Theresa M. Kelley)


  • ‘Paging the Stage: Romantic Drama and its Spectacle’, at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, April—June 1998, curated, with exhibition catalogue, by Michael Simpson


  • Co-producer (with Theresa M. Kelley) of Percy Bysshe Shelley's Prometheus Unbound, directed by Madge Darlington, designed and performed by Rude Mechanicals, at the University of Texas at Austin, April 1998

Research Interests

My research interests span Romanticism, classical reception and postcolonialism. I have published critical work across the broad field of Romantic literary culture, on drama and theatre, poetry and the novel. My interest in the Greco-Roman classics lies particularly in how they have been adapted within postcolonial and especially African, Afro-Caribbean and African-American literatures and theatres. Within Romantic literary studies, I am currently writing a book on the theme of distraction in British Romantic literature; within classical reception studies, I am co-writing a book on the bearing of Classics and classical literature on the cultural history of the British Left in the twentieth century.



Simpson, Michael and Goff, B.. 2007. Crossroads in the Black Aegean: Oedipus, Antigone, and Dramas of the African Diaspora. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199217182

Simpson, Michael . 2002. The Morning (Post) After: Apocalypse and Bathos in Coleridge's 'Fears in Solitude'. Palgrave. ISBN 0312240112

Simpson, Michael . 1998. Closet Performances: Political Exhibition and Prohibition in the Dramas of Byron and Shelley. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0804730952

Edited Book

Simpson, Michael and Goff, Barbara, eds. 2011. Thinking the Olympics: the Classical Tradition and the Modern Games. Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 978-0715639306

Edited Journal

Simpson, Michael , ed. 1999. ‘Romantic Drama in Place’, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 41(4). 0040-4691

Book Section

Hurst, Isobel . 2020. ‘What’s the Roman Republic to me, or I to the Roman Republic?’: Victorian Classicism and the Italian Risorgimento. In: Barbara Goff and Michael Simpson, eds. Classicising Crisis: The Modern Age of Revolutions and the Greco-Roman Repertoire. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9780815361770

Simpson, Michael . 2020. Of Minotaurs and Macroeconomics: Greek myth and common currency. In: Barbara Goff and Michael Simpson, eds. Classicising Crisis: the Modern Age of Revolutions and the Greco-Roman Repertoire. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 168-185. ISBN 9780815361770

Goff, Barbara and Simpson, Michael . 2020. Introduction. In: Barbara Goff and Michael Simpson, eds. Classicising Crisis: The Modern Age of Revolutions and the Greco-Roman Repertoire. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 1-18. ISBN 9780815361770

Simpson, Michael and Goff, Barbara. 2015. 'New Worlds, Old Dreams? Postcolonial Theory and Reception of Greek Drama'. In: Kathryn Bosher; Fiona Macintosh; Justine McConnell and Patrice Rankine, eds. Oxford Handbook of Greek Drama in the Americas. Oxford: OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0199661305

Simpson, Michael . 2015. Yesterday's Men: Labour's Modernising Elite from the 1960s to Classical Times. In: Henry Stead and Edith Hall, eds. Greek and Roman Classics in the British Struggle for Social Reform. London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 269-291. ISBN 9781472584267

Simpson, Michael . 2013. Labour and the Classics : Plato and Crossman in Dialogue. In: Lorna Hardwick and Stephen Harrison, eds. Classics in the Modern World : A Democratic Turn? Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 63-78. ISBN 9780199673926

Simpson, Michael . 2012. Classical Greek Drama. In: Fred Burwick, ed. The Encyclopedia of Romantic Literature. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1405188104

Simpson, Michael . 2011. Trailing the Olympic Epic: Black Modernity and the Athenian Arena, 2004. In: Michael Simpson and Barbara Goff, eds. Thinking the Olympics: the Classical Tradition and the Modern Games. Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 978-0715639306

Simpson, Michael and Goff, Barbara. 2011. 'Voice from the Black Box: Sylvain Bemba's Black Wedding Candles for Blessed Antigone'. In: Erin Mee and Helene Foley, eds. Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage. Oxford: OUP Oxford, pp. 324-341. ISBN 978-0199586196

Simpson, Michael . 2008. Telling Lives to Children : Young versus New Historicism. In: Damian Walford Davies, ed. Romanticism, History, Historicism: Essays on an Orthodoxy. Oxon: Routledge, pp. 60-78. ISBN 9780415961127

Simpson, Michael . 2007. Byron in theory and theatre land: finding the right address. In: Jane Stabler, ed. Byron Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 191-212. ISBN 9781403945921

Simpson, Michael . 2007. 'The Curse of the Canon: Ola Rotimi’s The Gods Are Not to Blame'. In: Lorna Hardwick and Carol Gillespie, eds. Classics in Post-Colonial Worlds. Oxford: OUP, pp. 86-100. ISBN 978-0199296101


Simpson, Michael . 2013. On Byron's Famous Fanes: Ruined Temples and Reformed Theatres. The Byron Journal, 41(2), pp. 145-158. ISSN 0301-7257

Simpson, Michael . 2011. Oedipus, Suez, and Hungary : T. S. Eliot's Tradition and The Elder Statesman. Comparative Drama, 44(4), pp. 509-528. ISSN 0010-4078

Simpson, Michael . 2009. Byron's Manfred and the King's Head: Having Words with Bodies. The Byron Journal, 37(1), pp. 43-54. ISSN 0301-7257

Simpson, Michael . 2005. Wavering on Europe: Walter Scott and the Equilibrium of the Empires. Romanticism, 11(2), pp. 127-142. ISSN 1354991X

Simpson, Michael . 2003. 'Behind Harold’s Bloomsday Book: Gothic Secrets in Literary History'. Women: A Cultural Review, 14(3), pp. 229-247. ISSN 0957-4042

Simpson, Michael . 2003. 'Strange Fits of Parallax: Wordsworth’s Geometric Excursions'. The Wordsworth Circle,

Simpson, Michael . 1999. Coleridge's Swinging Moods and the Revision of "This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison". Style, 33(1),

Simpson, Michael . 1999. 'Re-Opening after the Old Price Riots: War and Peace at Drury Lane'. Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 41(4), ISSN 0040-4691

Simpson, Michael . 1997. 'Buried and (P)Raised: Joseph Brodsky, William Peter and the Anglo-Irish Union'. Textual Practice (, 11(2), pp. 275-284. ISSN 0950-236X

Simpson, Michael . 1997. 'Hyped Text: The Rhetoric of Virtual Space in Critical Prose'. Prose Studies, 20(3), pp. 79-105. ISSN 0144-0357

Simpson, Michael . 1996. 'Ancestral Voices Prophesying What?: The Moving Text in Byron's Marino Faliero and Sardanapalus'. Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 38(3-4),

Simpson, Michael . 1996. 'Who Didn't Kill Blake's Fly: Moral Law and the Rule of Grammar in "Songs of Experience"'. Style, 30(2),

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