I completed my PhD at Harvard in 1967, where I taught in English Literature and History and Literature until 1970, when I accepted an appointment at the new campus of the University of California at Santa Cruz, my home ever since.
Though I took my training in English Renaissance Literature, and published my first books in that field, I began to move toward American Literature in the mid-1970s. Drawn by an interest in the life and work of Henry A. Murray, and to the emerging American Studies program at UCSC, I was soon offering foundation courses in the new major, as well as more advanced instruction in Melville, Twain, the American Novel, History and Literature, and American Autobiography.
In the years since I have published widely on American subjects, with particular attention to Murray, Mark Twain, and the literature of the West. My approach combines close textual analysis supplemented by historical and psychological perspectives.
B.A. Northwestern University with Honors, 1963
M.A. Harvard University, 1964
Ph.D. Harvard University, 1967