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Kahan shares Shakespeare’s occult

Jeffery Kahan, professor of English, discussed “Shake­speare and the Occult” in the President's Dining Room on Monday. Kahan read from “Hamlet” and talked about Shakespeare’s far-reaching influence in our cultural lives. / photo by Brittney Slater-Shew

Ingrid Rodriguez
Staff Writer

Professor of English Jeffrey Kahan discussed the Shake­spearean impact on culture, and read from his new book “Shakespeare and the Occult” in a faculty lecture on Monday.

Approximately 30 faculty members, students and staff attended his reading in Presidents Dining Room.

Kahan said Shakespeare has been compared to Jesus or Buddha, and that theatres are halls of worship for Shakespeare.

“Genius is somehow associated with god-like,” he said.

He said people need to focus on interests like sports or bands.

“We’re not Republicans or Democrats, but we’re all Laker fans,” Kahan said.

When Kahan was asked why he chose to write about “Shakespeare and The Occult,” he said, “I too am looking for something to believe.”

Kahan said that spirituality reached its peak during World War I, and most people want to know what happened.

The book should be enlightening, said Amy Velasco, director of the office of sponsored research.

In his book, Kahan describes the different ways people communicate with the dead. He also details diverse views of Shakespeare.

As Kahan read the beginning of his book, the audience laughed because of the way he read it – like a character in a play.

“Jeff has an amazing ability to find new topics within the field of Shakespeare studies,” Al Clark, associate vice president for academic affairs, said.

Kahan has written 14 books on various topics related to Shakespeare.

Clark said that while so much has been written about Shakespeare, Kahan nonetheless brings a fresh approach to a topic that has been talked about for five centuries.

Kahan’s talk was part of the weekly Faculty Lecture series, sponsored by the La Verne Academy.

Ingrid Rodriguez can be reached at

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