Born in Massachusetts George graduated from Burlington High School and attended Tufts College (A.B., 1953), Duke University (M.A., 1954), and Cornell University (Ph.D., 1960). He has taught at Washington University, Baldwin Wallace College, Fairleigh Dickinson University, the University of Edinburgh, and Eastern Michigan University. Honored as a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Edinburgh, and a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Newcastle, Australia, he has also lectured as a visiting scholar at Peking University, Zhengzhou University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Macquarie University in Australia.
Currently Professor Emeritus of American Literature at Eastern Michigan University, he received the Eastern Michigan University Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching, Research, and Service, and an Eastern Michigan University Regents' Commendation for "Outstanding Accomplishments and Achievements." As Founding Editor of THE JOURNAL OF NARRATIVE TECHNIQUE, he edited that publication for twenty-two years before joining the board of NARRATIVE as Associate Editor in 1993. He is a member of the Authors Guild and the National Book Critics Circle.
Barbara was born in Pennsylvania and attended public schools there and in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduation from Cleveland’s East High School, she attended Baldwin Wallace College (A.B., 1956), Kent State University (M.A., 1959), and the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D., 1972). Married to George in 1964, she taught with him at Fairleigh Dickinson University until they moved to Edinburgh in 1966, where she worked on her dissertation at the National Library of Scotland under the auspices of a Danforth Fellowship and cared for their new baby, Laura, while he taught in the English Department at Edinburgh University.
As the mother of three in Ann Arbor, she completed her Ph.D. dissertation and returned to employment outside the home when the girls reached school age. She served as Writing Coordinator for the Humanities Program at Eastern Michigan University and as Managing Editor of THE JOURNAL OF NARRATIVE TECHNIQUE before joining the English Department at the University of Toledo. She has taught at the University of Newcastle and lectured at Peking University, Zhengzhou University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Macquarie University in Australia.
Active in community affairs, she served on Ann Arbor's Airport Advisory Board, managed political campaigns, and chaired the Program Committee for the Board of HelpSource, a Washtenaw County social service organization. In addition to her books, she has written for political campaigns and service organizations and has published essays and reviews in a variety of publications.
George and Barbara met in 1960 in Ohio and have lived in Ann Arbor since 1967, with time out for travels that have taken them around the world with stops in places that have included England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia, Europe, China, India, Africa, and the Near East.
Together they founded the Society for the Study of Narrative Literature, which has become the International Society for the Study of Narrative. ISSN has honored them with lifetime memberships and in the name of its annual Perkins Prize for the best book in narrative studies.
Their daughters, Laura, Suzanne, and Alison, raised in Ann Arbor, live now in Michigan and Maryland. The families gather annually on Cape Cod.