Bachelor, University Georgia, 1961. Bachelor with honors, Cambridge University, England, 1967. Master of Arts, Harvard University, 1963.
Doctor of Philosophy, Harvard University, 1969.
Assistant professor Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1969-1972, professor folklore, since 1985, Francis Lee Higginson professor English literature. From assistant professor to professor Stanford University, California, 1972-1982. Professor Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1982-1985.
Visiting professor Bonn University, 1992.
Married Nancy Flowers. Children: Alice Kittrell, Elizabeth Whiting Flowers. Married Monika Maria Totten.
1 child, Sonja Sophia Totten-Harris.