Allan Christensen was born in New York in 1940 and lived his early years there. After earning an A.B. at Harvard College in 1962, with a major in the history and literature of nineteenth-century England, France, and Germany, he studied Norwegian literature as a Fulbright fellow at the University of Oslo. His Ph.D. is from Princeton University, 1968, where he took courses in both English and French literature and wrote a dissertation on Thomas Carlyle.

His first teaching appointment was in the English Department of the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1973 during the crisis of the Vietnam war and the Nixon presidency he emigrated to Italy where he has lived ever since. He has been a member of the faculty of John Cabot University since 1981. His proposal for an undergraduate English major at JCU was accepted by the faculty and trustees, as the fourth degree program of the university, and he served for many years as chairman of the English Department.

At his retirement at the end of 2005, he was nominated Professor Emeritus. Beyond his teaching and administrative work, he has been active as a scholar in the field especially of nineteenth-century English literature, but with excursions into earlier and later periods too. He helped to organize important international conferences, sponsored by the JCU English department in collaboration with English departments of various Italian universities, for the bicentenaries of Shelley in 1992 and of Keats in 1995.

Professor Christensen's books deal with Edward Bulwer Lytton, Giovanni Ruffini, and John Keats. His most recent and important book is Nineteenth-Century Narratives of Contagion, published by Routledge in 2005. In addition to the books, his scholarship has involved participation in many academic conferences throughout Europe, editorial advising for several academic journals, and the publication of numerous articles. Since his retirement he has served on the editorial board of the newly founded John Cabot University Press, negotiating an association with the University of Delaware Press and collaborating in the successful launching of our first publications.