Born in New York City, I received my BA from Queens College, CUNY, and my MA and PhD from Washington University under the supervision of J.H. Hexter. I have taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara; the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida; and since 1987, at Drexel University. My fields of scholarly interest are Tudor-Stuart England, early modern Europe, and modern American and European intellectual and aesthetic history. My books include The Parliament of 1621: A Study in Constitutional Conflict (University of California Press; Phi Alpha Theta Prize); The Cliffs of Solitude: A Reading of Robinson Jeffers (Cambridge University Press; Tor House Foundation Award); Europe in Transition, 1660-1815 (Harper & Row); The Discourse of Legitimacy in Early Modern England (Stanford University Press); and Robinson Jeffers and the American Sublime (Stanford). I am coauthor of Civilizations of the World: The Human Adventure and Civilizations of the West: The Human Adventure (both published by Longman), coeditor of the Biographical Dictionary of British Radicals in the Seventeenth Century, 3 vols. (Harvester Press), and coeditor of A Casebook on Anais Nin (New American Library); Centennial Essays for Robinson Jeffers (University of Delaware Press); and The Classic Historians (Linus Publications). My books and chapbooks of verse include The Year One, Lives of the Poet, Invisible Music, For Empedocles, and Islands. My translations (from Greek of Lili Bita) include Furies (Hors Commerce Press), The Scorpion and Other Stories (Pella), Sisters of Darkness, Women of Fire and Blood, and The Thrust of the Blade (all from Somerset Hall Press), and, with Lili Bita, Thirty Years in the Rain: The Selected Poetry of Nikiforos Vrettakos (Somerset Hall). I am most recently coauthor, with Lili Bita, of The Storm Rider, a memoir (Somerset Hall).
I am an elected fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a John S. Guggenheim fellow. I have served, among other positions, as an advisory board member of the Yale Center for Parliamentary History, and as President of the Robinson Jeffers Association. I have been as well chair of the Faculty Senate at the University of Miami, and I am the former head of the Department of History and Politics at Drexel University, where I hold the rank of Distinguished University Professor. I am a past member of the board of Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, in whose work I remain active.