After earning a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, for more than 40 years he was a professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. His academic specialty in teaching, research, and publications was Renaissance drama, with a special focus on Shakespeare. In 1974 he received a Guggenheim fellowship.
Bobby died Jan. 16, 2021, in Haverford, Pa., at the age of 93. He is survived by a cousin, Lillian J. Howland.