Jeffrey Kahan

"We live thinking we will never die.
 We die thinking we had never lived.
 Cut it out."-- Jason Becker




Jeffrey Kahan is a Professor of English at the University of La Verne in Los Angeles County, where he teaches Shakespeare, Shakespeare and Film, Shakespeare’s Contemporaries, Graphic Novels, and  serves  as dramaturge to the Department of Theater.   He is also the Director of the University of La Verne Shakespeare Experience.


His online vitae, available at, is supplemented with the following overview, designed to make insomniacs snore like donkeys:


Dr. Kahan's first book, Reforging Shakespeare (Lehigh UP, 1998), was a comprehensive study of the Ireland forgeries of 1795. Reforging Shakespeare argues that the time may be ripe to re-examine the W.H. Ireland forgeries  as a decisive case history in the development of our current respect for antiquity, our appreciation of authenticity,  and our understanding of bardolatry.   


 In July 2004, Dr. Kahan completed a three volume set for Routledge entitled Shakespeare Imitations, Parodies and Forgeries, 1710-1820.  The set includes 24 plays comprising 750 pages and another 500  pages of introductory materials, notes and collations.  December of 2004 saw the release of his edition of The Poetry of W.H. Ireland, a selection that firmly establishes Ireland’s place among the most important Romantic poets of his era. In 2005, Dr. Kahan completed his editions of Ireland’s Shakespearean Gothic novels Gondez and Rimauldo. He then had a glass of milk.


In 2006, he published The Cult of Kean, a study of the Regency Shakespeare actor Edmund Kean, with Ashgate.  Another book, co-written with Stanley Stewart, Professor of English at UC Riverside, Caped Crusaders 101: Composition Through Comic Books, came out with McFarland. In that same year, Kahan published an edition of Ireland’s The Abbess, issued by Zittaw,  an edition of Southey’s epic poetry with the University of Gloucestershire, an edition of Much Ado About Nothing with the Shakespeare Sourcebook Series, and guest-edited John Mulryan’s journal Cithara.  He then slept for a year.


In 2008, Dr. Kahan wrote a comprehensive general introduction and contributed an essay to a new collection on King Lear (published by Routledge). In 2009, Professor Kahan completed a new book, Bettymania and the Birth of Celebrity Culture (Lehigh University), and, along with Thomas Hester, guest edited a special double-issue of the Ben Jonson Journal.  The issue also included an essay, ”Shakespear wanted Arte’: Questioning the Historical Value of Ben Jonson’s Conversations  With Drummond.”  An edition of Pericles, published as part of the New Kittredge Shakespeare series, also appeared in 2009, as did a new essay on W.H. Ireland’s gothics, published in Shakespearean Gothic, eds. Christy Desmet and Anne Williams.  In 2010, Professor Kahan edited Coriolanus (New Kittredge Shakespeare Series).  An updated and revised second edition of his book Caped Crusaders 101 appeared in the fall of 2010. He then joined Writers Anonymous.


In 2011, he published How to Get Published in the Humanities. In the same year, Professor Kahan  agreed to write on the author/poet/forger W.H. Ireland for the Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Gothic (published 2013). He wrote a short essay on incest and the gothic for the same publication.  He then considered writing War and Peace but discovered that Tolstoy had already written it, and that Woody Allen had already penned this joke.


In 2012, he established the La Verne Shakespeare Center, now known as The La Verne Shakespeare Experience. His tasks as Director include

the planning and coordinating on-campus  Shakespearean events, an annual Shakespeare conference, community outreach, and working with University Relations and other faculty and staff on fundraising and grant writing.  He also lost a game of chess….


In 2013, Kahan published a new book, Shakespiritualism: Shakespeare and the Occult (Palgrave, 2013). This study concerns itself with a now-forgotten religious group, Spiritualists, and how its ensuing discussions of Shakespeare's meaning, his writing practices, his possible collaborations, and the supposed purity and/or corruption of his texts anticipated, accompanied, or silhouetted similar debates in Shakespeare Studies.  The following review comes by way of Edward Pechter, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Concordia University, Canada and author of Shakespeare Studies Today:


Shakespiritualism introduces a fascinating collection of individuals who imagined they could make contact with the living spirit of Shakespeare. Kahan acknowledges how easy it would be to dismiss their endeavors as silly if not mad, but to do so, he argues, would constitute a missed critical opportunity. For one thing, the very strangeness of the phenomenon helps to define by contrast the interpretive practice with which professional Shakespeareans are familiar. Then too, it's not so strange after all. Kahan points to surprising continuities between Shakespiritualism and our own work, and his darker purpose in this learned and appealing book is to suggest that a critical engagement with Shakespiritualism, while it is bound to remain a queer-looking enterprise, might help to enlarge our own practice beyond the unproductively narrow space within which it is sometimes enclosed.


He also had a book tour, which took him to UC Riverside, Cal State Long Beach, Fresno Pacific, and Vanderbilt.  In celebration thereof, he tried getting drunk in his hotel room but confused those tiny shampoo bottles with that stuff in the mini-bar.


Also in 2013, Kahan returned to the subject of the Ireland Shakspeare forgeries for European Romantic Review.  No humorous remark needed: The Ireland forgeries function as their own punchline.


A more recent interest concerns the future of the discipline. Kahan anticipates that, like Science Departments, Theater Departments will soon have

to seek their own funding.   To meet that coming challenge, Kahan enrolled in a M.S. Leadership and Management program, with an emphasis on

fundraising and non-profit administration.  He completed the degree in the spring of 2014 with a perfect 4.0 GPA.  Kahan’s  first publication on

leadership will appear later this year.  He is already on the Editorial Advisory Board for three books with Bryan Christiansen, PryMarke, LLC

(USA): Economic Growth and Technological Change in Latin America; Nationalism, Cultural Indoctrination, and Economic Prosperity in the Digital Age;

Handbook of Research on Global Business Opportunities.   


In March of 2014, Kahan created The Academic Therapist is IN: Positive Support for Struggling Academics.  As of this writing, it has 280

members.   On May 9, 2014,  Kahan started a digital newspaper,  (n)authenticity. Over the summer of 2014, Kahan served as a judge for the

First Annual Kauai .mov Festival.  He also enrolled in two Coursera summer classes, one on the game Lord of the Rings Online, taught by

Vanderbilt’s Jay Clayton, and the other on Music Fundamentals, staffed by some treble-clef fellows at the University of Edinburgh.  In the fall of

that year, he took still more MOOCS on the Beatles, Philosophy, and Cognitive Psychology. He thinks that his own course on comic books would

make a splendid MOOC.  Any institutions interested should contact him via email (serious here) or (less serious here) on the Batphone.  


On August 23, 2014, Kahan gave a speech on Romeo and Juliet at the UCI New Swan Festival, in which he reimagined the play as a crime drama—

“CSI 1595: The Case of the Stiletto Kid.”  Adopting a line from Doctor Strangelove, Kahan thinks that a film treatment is possible, though a sewage

treatment is absolutely essential.  He also found the time to complete a Master of Arts in English at Concordia University, Montreal.  (This marks his

seventh post-secondary degree, which includes one Ph.D., two M.As, one M.S., one B.A., an Associates, and a Certificate.)  In November of 2014, 

Kahan served as external assessor for National University’s online English M.A. program.   Over the same period, Kahan completed two new

articles, “‘I tell you what mine author says’: A Brief History of Stylometrics,” which will appear in ELH, and a study of comic books and censorship

for Paragone.  He also edited an issue of Studies in Gothic Fiction, contributed two book reviews to Cahiers Élisabéthains, wrote a review for Gothic

Studies, and created the annotated bibliography for the forger J.P. Collier in Nineteenth-Century Criticism No. 286 (Gale Cengage, 2014).  


In January, 2015, Kahan completed the annotated bibliography for  the “Performance Criticism” entry in Shakespearean Criticism No. 159 (Gale

Cengage, 2015); in February, he wrote reviews for Gothic Studies and SHARP. In March of 2015, Kahan will co-chair a panel on literary juvenilia for

  the upcoming ASECS conference.  All preteens holding Ph.D.s in Eighteenth-Century Studies are busily booking their flights.  Also in March, Kahan

  agreed to join the editorial board for “The Folger Shakespeare Library Prompt Books Collection,” a digital resource by Adam Matthew.  At present,

  Kahan is writing a new Shakespeare book, penning an article on the Ireland forgeries, a chapter on the 1966 Batman and Robin TV show, and writing

  a new piece on management practices.  He also writes a monthly column on Captain America for  and another column, entitled

  The Blotted Line,” for The Shakespeare Standard.   By his count, he has pulped several rainforests of paper, single-handedly causing the Polar

  Vortex of 2014 and other recent ecological disasters.   To balance out his eco-crimes, he drives a Prius, offsets his carbon units, composts his food

   scraps, and  keeps a bee farm.  (All true.)


   In addition to his teaching and writing, Kahan is currently enrolled in a music program at the University of La Verne,  where he spends too much

   of his time convincing one-time Black Sabbath pianist Reed Gratz that Alvin Lee was the greatest guitarist of his generation.  Sorry Jimi.


Dr. Kahan is member of the editorial board for Shakespeare Yearbook, Udolpho Press, and The Dark Man, the latter, a journal dedicated to the study of Texas writer R.E. Howard, and the New Ray Bradbury Journal.  He is also a co-editor of the CORD project, a work detailing all extant information of Elizabethan theater, actors, poets, and playwrights.  From 2001 to 2005, he served as General Editor of the Shakespeare Millennium series.  His articles, notes, and reviews have been published in American Notes and Queries, The Ben Jonson Journal, The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, Cahiers Élisabéthains, Cithara, English Literary History, Early Modern Language Studies, The Encyclopedia of British Literature and Poetry, The Encyclopedia of Gay Histories and Cultures, English Language Notes,  European Romantic Review. Gothic Studies, Marlowe Society of America Newsletter, Notes and Queries, Paragone, Renaissance Quarterly, Seventeenth-Century News, Studies in Gothic Fiction, Women's Studies, Shakespeare Bulletin, Shakespeare Newsletter, Shakespeare Yearbook, and Upstart Crow, among others.  He is consumed by pumpkins and vice versa….


Kahan foregoes all sleep to serve as the President of Alpha Chi, Region VII and as a judge for its graduate and undergraduate scholarships.  He is thrilled to be associated with this American honor society, but the Canadian in him quibbles that there is no “u” in honor.   Kahan also works with the local community, serving as a board member for Los Angeles’s Ark Theater Company and as an adviser for a number of theater groups.  You can read some of his client reviews on his LinkedIn page.   Professor Kahan is also a registered expert on Shakespeare with the European Commission, a registered panelist and reviewer for the NEH, and a registered Fulbright Specialist in American Lit. and Graphic Novels-- collective proof that the West is in inexorable decline.


Laugh still more with (or, more likely, at) Dr. Kahan by connecting with him on Facebook or by visiting his Amazon Author’s Page.

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Last modified:  January 19, 2015.