David Scott Kastan: Author & Professor of English Literature at Yale University

My NativeAdVantage:


David Scott Kastan is the George M. Bodman Professor of English Literature at Yale University. Before coming to Yale, he taught at Columbia University and at Dartmouth College.  He has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Copenhagen, at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and at the American University in Cairo. Among his books are Shakespeare and the Shapes of Time, Shakespeare after Theory, and Shakespeare and the Book (which was recently translated into Chinese and Hungarian). 

His most recent book, A Will to Believe: Shakespeare and Religion, was published in 2014, and will be reissued in paperback this June. He has produced scholarly editions of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part One, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus; and he edited the recent five-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature. He serves as one of the general editors of the Arden Shakespeare, was the co-editor of the Bantam Shakespeare, and the series editor of the Barnes and Noble Shakespeare. Currently he is working with the English painter Stephen Farthing on a book called Living Color: a History, to be published next year by Yale University Press, and also on a history of the book in fifteen micro-histories for Princeton University Press, to be titled Book Cases.

What do you do best?

Bring interesting people together.

What makes you the best?

If only. But to the degree I am good enough, it is because I love what I do and I can (sometimes) communicate my excitement—and because I don’t really believe the “best” is a useful category in the world I am lucky enough to inhabit.

What are your aspirations?

To get a little smarter every day and to keep having fun in the attempt.

Biggest Success?

My kids are happy and my graduate students employed.

Most Challenging Moment?

No doubt it had something to do with the perils of parenting; happily I think I have repressed it.

Favorite Motto?

"People don’t get smart by themselves."

Favorite People?

My wife, Jane, our children, and a few close friends, whom we never see quite enough. No politicians.

Favorite Places?

Camogli, Italy

Favorite Products?

Every book printed in England before 1640.

Current Passions?