Cantor is a professor of English at the University of Virginia. He has taught at Harvard University and at Davidson College in North Carolina. In 1992 he was appointed by President Bush to the National Council on the Humanities, the 26-member advisory board for the National Endowment of the Humanities.
Cantor is the author of several books on Shakespeare and Romantic literature, including Creature and Creator: Myth-Making and the English Romanticism (1985) and the Hamlet (1989) volume in the Cambridge Landmarks of World Literature series. He has recently published essays on contemporary authors Don DeLillo and J.M. Coetzee, as well as on hyperinflation and hyperreality in Thomas Mann's Disorder and Early Sorrow (1925).
Paul Cantor's appearance at the Athenaeum is sponsored by the Salvatori Center.