Merrill Whitburn is Louis Ellsworth Laflin Professor of English in the Department of Language, Literature, and Communication at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. For 13 years (1979-85, 1988-95), he chaired the department. Prior to coming to Rensselaer, he taught at Texas A&M University for 6 years (1973-79). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and his A.M. and A.B. from the University of Michigan.