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Curriculum Vitae:

Anyone who wishes to find out about my academic background and interests can click here to access my standard Curriculum Vitae. CVs give only the basics, however, so let me add a few informal remarks.

I retired in June 2011 after teaching for ten years in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Before that, I taught for twenty-five years at the University of California - Berkeley and an initial four years at Brandeis University.

Although I always taught in departments of English, my PhD is in Comparative Literature and I consider myself a comparatist by training and temperament. The Old English epic poem Beowulf was the focal point of my graduate studies and has remained central to my research over the years. After completing the doctorate, I developed competence in such areas as orality and textuality; manuscript studies; linguistics and language history; social history; anthropological approaches to the study of literature; comparative folklore and mythology; archaeology and material culture; and (to some degree) Old Norse and Celtic studies. During the 1980s I undertook substantial fieldwork into current singing and storytelling practices in Scotland, particularly among the Scottish travelling people, or tinkers.

I remain active in research, and I hope to finish a set of projects in retirement that I could not complete while in the midst of teaching duties and other responsibilities. Certain of these projects have involved me in a steep learning curve in the areas of archaeology and material culture. When I am not at my desk I enjoy cycling, hiking, skiing now that I live in Boulder, swimming, meeting up with friends, gardening in fresh weather, and all kinds of music.

My aims as a teacher and scholar have been first, to help perpetuate a great tradition of letters; second, to integrate knowledge drawn from different intellectual areas so that sparks of new insight are ignited in my classrooms and through my writings; and third, to engage in innovative research that is not afraid to challenge established truths. I am thankful to have taught for most of my academic career at great state-funded public universities where I have been able to learn from outstanding colleagues and students.











Updated: 8-July-2016