Paul A. Cantor was Clifton Waller Barrett Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1977.

From 1992 to 1999, Cantor served on the National Council on the Humanities, the governing board of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has published extensively on Shakespeare, including his books Shakespeare’s Roman Trilogy (University of Chicago Press, 2017), Shakespeare’s Rome: Republic and Empire (Cornell, 1976), and the Hamlet volume in the Cambridge Landmarks of World Literature series (Cambridge University Press, 1989, 2004). He has also published essays on The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, As You Like It, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Timon of Athens, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Tempest, as well as on general issues of Shakespeare criticism.

In addition to Shakespeare, he has written about other English Renaissance dramatists, including Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Cyril Tourneur, and John Ford. Among the other fields he has worked in are British Romantic literature and American popular culture.  His book Gilligan Unbound: Pop Culture in the Age of Globalization (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001) was named one of the best nonfiction books of 2001 by the Los Angeles Times. In the Fall of 2007 and 2012, Cantor was a Visiting Professor of Government at Harvard and taught a course on Shakespeare and Politics, which he also taught in the Spring of 2015.

Cantor received his BA in 1966 and his Ph.D. in 1971 from Harvard University, where he was an assistant professor of English from 1971 to 1977.