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Ariel Dorfman, Walter Hines Page Research Professor of Literature; Professor of Latin American Studies; Spanish Studies

Ariel Dorfman

Ariel Dorfman, (, (, Walter Hines Page Research professor of Literature and Latin American Studies in the Center for International Studies, and Professor, Romance Studies. He teaches courses each Spring semester on Spanish-American and Third-World literature and culture. He is the author of many books of literary and cultural criticism. His major publications in this area include: Imaginación y Violencia en América, Hacia la liberación del lector americano, Para Leer al Pato Donald, The Empire's Old Clothes, and Some write to the Future. As a writer of fiction, he has published, among others, Blake's Therapy (Terapia), Viudas (Widows), Cría Ojos, La Ultima Canción de Manuel Sendero, Máscaras, The Nanny and the Iceberg, and Konfidenz. He has also written poetry In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land and Pruebas al Canto, receiving the 1995 Charity Randall Citation from the International Poetry Forum. He contributes regularly to a number of publications worldwide as a commentator and journalist. His plays, Widows, Reader, and Death and the Maiden, have received many major awards. He is the first Latin American writer to receive the Sir Lawrence Olivier Award for best play in England (1992). The film Death and the Maiden was co-written and co-produced by Professor Dorfman and directed by Roman Polanski. Professor Dorfman has also co-written an award winning BBC teleplay (1995) and co-directed the short, My House is on Fire. Before coming to Duke, he taught at the Universities of Chile, Amsterdam, and Maryland, and at the Sorbonne. His latest books are Exorcising Terror, The Incredible Unending Trial of General Augusto Pinochet, the memoir Heading South, Looking North (published in Spanish as Rumbo al Sur, Deseando el Norte) and a novel he has co-written with his son, Joaquin Dorfman, The Burning City. His play, Speak Truth to Power: Voices From Beyond the Dark, premiered at the Kennedy Center and was transmitted nationally as part of the PBS series great performances. Professor Dorfman's newest projects include the staging of Purgatorio, another play, on Broadway in 2004 and The Other Side, which will premiere in Tokyo's New National Theatre in April 2004 and will then open in England directed by Sir Peter Hall. National Geographic will publish his Desert Memories: A Journey through the Chilean North, in fall of 2003.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  125F Friedl Building
Office Phone:  (919) 684-6605
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Teaching (Fall 2015):

    White 106, M 03:05 PM-08:05 PM
    Carr 242, Tu 04:40 PM-07:10 PM
    (also cross-listed as ROMST 490S.01)

PhDUniversity of Chile1965
Licenciado en Filosofia con Mención en Literatura General (MA equivalent)University of Chile, Santiago, Chile1965

Latin-American Studies
Performance Studies
Comparative Studies: Translation, Travel Narratives, Trans-Culturality
Critical Theory, Philosophy
Modern and Contemporary
Globalization, Postmodernity, Contemporaneity
Research Interests: Popular Culture and Globalization

Walter Hines Page Research Professor of Literature and Latin American Studies; has a Licenciatura in Comparative Literature from the Universidad de Chile, Santiago, 1965. He has taught at the Universidad de Chile, the Sorbonne (Paris IV) and the University of Amsterdam. His major publications include the essays, How to Read Donald Duck (in collaboration with Armand Mattlelart, 1971), The Empire's Old Clothes (1983), and Someone Writes to the Future: Essays on Contemporary Latin American Fiction (1991). He is also the author of a collection of poetry, Last Waltz in Santiago and Other Poems of Exile and Disappearance (1988), and In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land: New and Collected Poems from Two Languages (2002), and the memoir, Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey (1998). His novels include Widows (1983), The Last Song of Manuel Sendero (1986), Mascara (1988), Hard Rain (1990), Konfidenz (1995), The Nanny and the Iceburg (1999), and Blake's Therapy (2001). His plays include Widows (which won a New American Plays Award from the Kennedy Center), and Reader (winner of the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center) which is in production world wide. Death and the Maiden, winner of many awards and also in production worldwide, was made into a Roman Polanski film. Mascara (with son, Rodrigo Dorfman), premiered in Bonn in 1998, and Who's Who (also with Rodrigo Dorfman) premiered in Frankfurt in 1998. He also has created a collection of his plays, The Resistance Trilogy, which includes Death and the Maiden, Reader, and Widows. His most recent non-fiction works include Exorcising Terror: The Incredible, Unending Trial of General Augusto Pinochet (2002), Other Septembers, Many Americas (2004), Desert Memories: Journeys through the Chilean North (2004), and he collaborated on the novel The Burning City, with his youngest son, Joaquin Dorfman. His latest plays include The Other Side and Purgatorio. A documentary feature film based on his life, "A Promise to the Dead: the Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman," was directed by Peter Raymont in 2007 and shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. He has recently begun to work with composers, writing the libretto (in verse) for an operatic version of Death and the Maiden (music by Jonas Forssell), which premiered at Malmo in September of 2008; and the book for Dancing Shadows (music by Eric Woolfson, lead singer and composer of the Alan Parsons Project), which opened in Seoul in July 2007 and went on to win five Korean Tonys. He is currently working on another opera, with the Scottish composer Nigel Osborne, based on a legend of the Upanishads. He has just completed Feeding on Dreams: Confessions of an Uurepentant Exile, the second volume of his memoirs, which will Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish in Fall 2011. Prof. Dorfman continues to write regularly for many of the most important newspapers and magazines in the US and abroad, and in 2010 delivered the 8th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. A. Dorfman, "Beyond the Legendary Mandela", Sunday Times in South Africa (December 8, 2013), pp. 1-2
  2. A. Dorfman, "When Mandela Became Real to Me", Sunday, edited by Chris Hughes, New Republic (December 8, 2013), Chris Hughes [nelson-mandela-remembered-ariel-dorfman]
  3. A. Dorfman, The Struggle for Chile’s Future, In the Dec. 23/30, 2013 edition., The Nation (December 4, 2013), New York, NY [struggle-chiles-future#]
  4. A. Dorfman, "Chile elections: three candidates, three fathers and an awful lot of history", The Guardian (November 15, 2013), The Guardian News and Media Limited, London, UK [chile-elections-fathers-history-bachelet-matthei]
  5. A. Dorfman, "A Way Out for Egypt? Lessons from the Chilean Plebiscite", In the Oct. 28, 2013 edition., edited by Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation, vol. 297 no. 17 (October 8, 2013), THE NATION COMPANY, L.P., New York, NY, ISSN 0027-8378 [does-chilean-experience-offer-way-out-egypt]  [abs]

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