His boyhood was spent in Manchester before moving on to a BA in English from University College London in 1963. He received a research MA from King's College London in 1965, with a thesis on Herman Melville, and holds a Ph.D from the University of Kent, UK. From 1967 until 1996 he taught at the University of Kent. From 1997-2011 he held a Chair in English and American Literature at Nihon University, Tokyo. He has held frequent visiting fellowships and professorships in the United States—to include Princeton, the University of Virginia, Bryn Mawr College, Northwestern University, the University of Colorado, the University of California Berkeley, and the University of New Mexico. From 2000-2007 he was Annual Visiting Professor in American Studies at Sunderland University. He has been a broadcaster with BBC radio, the Spanish Open University, ORF, NPR and PBS.May 2005 Visiting Fellow, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
2004 American Book Award for Multicultural American Literature: Comparative Black, Native, Latino/a and Asian American Fictions
1981-1982 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, Northwestern University
Summer, 1976 Newberry Library Research Fellow, Chicago
1965-66 English-Speaking Union Research Fellow, Princeton University
Americas: Selected Verse and Vignette, University of Valencia Press, 2014.
Imaginarium: Sightings, Galleries, Sightlines. 2LeafPress, 2013.
The Native American Renaissance: Literary Imagination and Achievement. ed. with Alan Velie, University of Oklahoma Press, 2013.
U.S. Latino/a Writing (4 Vols). ed. Routledge, 2013.
Portrait and Landscape: Further Geographies. Printed Matter Press, 2013.
Ars Geographica: Maps and Compasses. Printed Matter Press, 2012.
African American Writing (5 Vols), ed. Routledge, 2012.
Native American Writing (4 Vols). ed. Routledge, 2011.
Tokyo Commute: Japanese Customs and Way of Life Viewed from the Odakyu Line. Renaissance Books, 2011.
Modern American Counter Writing: Beats, Outriders, Ethnics. Routledge, 2010.
Gerald Vizenor: Texts and Contexts . ed. with Deborah Madsen, University of New Mexico Press, 2010.
Gothic to Multicultural: Idioms of Imagining in American Literary Fiction. Rodopi, 2009.
United States: Re-Viewing American Multicultural Literature. University of Valencia Press, 2009.
The Salt Companion to Jim Barnes. ed. Salt Publishing, 2009.
China Fictions/English Language: Literary Essays in Diaspora, Memory, Story. ed. Rodopi, 2008.
Japan Textures: Sight and Word. With Mark Gresham. Fuzambo International, 2007.
Guest Editor. Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies. Vol. 8: 3, 2006.
Multicultural American Literature: Comparative Black, Native, Latino/a and Asian American Fictions. University of Edinburgh Press and University Press of Mississippi, 2003. Japanese version, Fuzambo International. Trans. Kimitaka Hara and Yuko Noro, 2010.
Herman Melville: Critical Assessments (4 Vols). ed. Helm Publications, 2001.
Ethnics Behaving Badly: U.S. Multicultural Narratives. Working Papers in Cultural Studies, Department of Comparative American Cultures, Washington State University, 2001.
Loosening The Seams: Interpretations of Gerald Vizenor. ed. Bowling Green State University Press/University of Wisconsin Press, 2000.
Postindian Conversations. With Gerald Vizenor. University of Nebraska Press. 1999, 2003.
Old Worlds, New Worlds: Comparative Theatre. ed. with Vicki Ooi. Taylor and Francis, 1999.
Designs of Blackness: Mappings in the Literature and Culture of Afro-America. Pluto Press, 1998.
The Beat Generation Writers. ed. Pluto Press, 1996.
Making America, Making American Literature: Franklin to Cooper. ed. with W.M. Verhoeven, Rodopi, 1996.
Other Britain, Other British: Contemporary Multicultural Fiction. ed. Pluto Press, 1995.
Shadow Distance: A Gerald Vizenor Reader. ed. Wesleyan Press/University of New England Press, 1994.
A Permanent Etcetera: Cross Cultural Perspectives on Post-War America. ed. Pluto Press, 1993.
Herman Melville, Typee. Everyman Edition. ed. J.M. Dent/Charles Tuttle, 1993.
Herman Melville, Billy Budd and Other Stories. Everyman Edition. ed. J.M. Dent/Charles Tuttle, 1993.
William Faulkner: The Yoknapatawpha Fiction. ed. Vision Press, 1991.
Tensions and Transitions (1869–1990): The Mediating Imagination. ed. with Michael Irwin and Mark Kinkead-Weekes, Faber and Faber, 1990.
The American Novella. ed. Vision Press, 1989.
Scott Fitzgerald: The Promises of Life. ed. Vision Press, 1989.
First Person Singular: Studies in American Autobiography. ed. Vision Press, 1988.
Edgar Allan Poe: The Design of Order. ed. Vision Press, 1987.
The Nineteenth-Century American Short Story. ed. Vision Press, 1985.
Nineteenth-Century American Poetry. ed. Vision Press, 1985.
Herman Melville: Reassessments. ed. Vision Press, 1984.
Black American Fiction Since Richard Wright. British Association of American Studies Pamphlet. No.11, 1983.
Ernest Hemingway: New Critical Essays. ed. Vision Press, 1983.
Nathaniel Hawthorne: New Critical Essays. ed. Vision Press, 1982.
Black Fiction: New Studies in the Afro-American Novel Since 1945. ed. Vision Press. 1980.
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, ed. Everyman Edition. J.M. Dent/Orion, 1973, 1992, 1993.