Although I am now a thorough-going Minnesotan, having lived here since 1966 with my wife (an R. N.) and having raised my three daughters in the Twin Cities, I hail originally from the steel-mill town of Homestead, Pennsylvania, where I lived until I was eleven. Then my family moved to San Francisco, where I attended Riordan High School and the University of San Francisco before entering the Army and serving in Germany as a lieutenant of field artillery. Upon my discharge, I earned a Ph. D. in English and American literature as a Danforth Fellow at Stanford University. Following graduate study, I came to the University of Minnesota as an assistant professor, eventually advancing to professor. Specializing in the literature of British North America during the colonial period and American literature in the early national period, I have also taught quite a range of other courses in British and American literature and American Studies. Throughout most of the 1980s, I chaired American Studies, and during my years on the Minnesota faculty I have also held positions as a visiting professor at Stanford, the University of San Francisco, the University of Salzburg (as a Fulbright Fellow) and the University of Amsterdam. I have received the College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Teacher Award, the University of Minnesota Morse-Alumni Award for outstanding graduate teaching, the English Department Ruth Christie Award for outstanding undergraduate teaching, and the MidAmerica American Studies Kolmer Award for teaching and mentoring in American Studies.

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • B.S.: English, University of San Francisco, 1959
  • Ph.D. : English and American Literature, Stanford University, 1966
  • M. A.: English and American Literature, Stanford University, 1966


  • American literature
  • American religion
  • American studies
  • Colonial literature
  • Use of early American history and literature by modern American writers