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Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Cornell University from 1956-1991, serving some time as chair in both departments.

He completed his B.A. in English at the University of Buffalo, followed by his M.A. in 1951. In 1956 he received his PhD from Cornell. He received a Fulbright Fellowship at Oxford University in 1954-1955, a senior Fulbright Fellowship, along with a Guggenheim Fellowship to Italy in 1964-1965 and in 1971-1972 he held a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.