Ariel Dorfman

Ariel Dorfman

Walter Hines Page Research Professor Emeritus of Literature

External address: 
1316 Campus Drive, 101 Friedl Building, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90670, 1316 Campus Drive, 101 Friedl, Durham, NC 27708-0670
(919) 684-6605

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.


  • Ph.D., University of Chile 1965

Dorfman, A. Para além do medo. Campo das Letras Editores S.A., November 2004.

Dorfman, A. Mascara. Seven Stories Press, September 2004.

Dorfman, A. The Rabbits’ Rebellion. Ma’ariv Book Guild, September 2004.

Dorfman, A. Desert Memories: Journeys through the Chilean North. National Geographic Books, January 2004.

Dorfman, A. Manifesto for Another World: Voices from Beyond the Dark. Seven Stories Press, 2004.

Dorfman, A. The Burning City (with Joaquin Dorfman). Doubleday (UK), 2003.

Dorfman, A. Konfidenz. Dalkey Archive, 2003.


Dorfman, A. "Globalizing compassion, photography, and the: Challenge of terror." Representing Humanity in an Age of Terror. December 1, 2010. 275-280.

Dorfman, A. "Introduction to Empire's Old Clothes." The Empire's Old Clothes. 2010. (Introduction)

Dorfman, A. "Introduction to Empire's Old Clothes." The Empire's Old Clothes. 2010. (Introduction)

Dorfman, A. "Waving the Star-Spanglish Banner." Spanglish. Ed. I Stavans. Greenwood Press, 2008. 118-119.

Dorfman, A. "Reader." Reader. Samuel French, Inc., 2008.

Dorfman, A. "Widows." Widows. Samuel French, Inc., 2008.

Dorfman, A. "The Other Side." The Other Side. Samuel French, Inc., 2008.

Dorfman, A. "Gringos." Visions from Finis Terrae. Ed. P Arriarán. Inter-American Dialogue, 2008. 205-213.

Dorfman, A. "Are there times when we have to accept torture?." On Torture. Ed. TC Hilde. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. 109-111. (Essay)

Dorfman, A. "Are We Really So Fearful?." On Torture. Ed. I Stavans. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. 112-114. (Essay)


Dorfman, A. "A Way Out for Egypt? Lessons from the Chilean Plebiscite." Ed. KV Heuvel. The Nation 297 (October 2013).

Dorfman, A. "9/11: The Day Everything Changed, in Chile." New York Times (September 2013): 6-7.

Dorfman, A. "Despedida y amanecer." Pagina Doce (May 2013). (Academic Article)

Dorfman, A. "Crossing the Street in Jaipur." Guernica Magazine (May 2013). (Academic Article)

Dorfman, A. "One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez." Brick: A Literary Journal (2013): 113-114.

Dorfman, A. "Fragment from the Diary of My Return to Chile in 1990." Diálogo 15.2 (2012): 23-24. (Essay)

Dorfman, A. "Matta el travieso." Pagina/12 (November 2011). (Academic Article)

Dorfman, A. "Confessions of an Unrepentant Exile." The Nation (November 2011). (Academic Article)

Dorfman, A. "Un purgatorio en busca de autor." El Pais (October 2011). (Academic Article)


Dorfman, A. "Why trapped miners 'unwilling to die in darkness." (September 8, 2010).

Dorfman, A. "Solidarity can help Chile prevail." (March 2, 2010).

Dorfman, A. "Hope for Latin America: Obama's Nobel." (October 20, 2009).

Dorfman, A. "Forever: A Letter to Obama." (October 9, 2009).

Dorfman, A. "My Paulina, My Country." (June 11, 2008).

Dorfman, A. "Homeland Security Ate my Speech." (January 15, 2006).

Dorfman, A. "The Struggle for America's Soul." (October 27, 2004).


Dorfman, A. "'Prologue: That Deafening Noise' plus two other poems." Ed. J Langer. (2008): 132-132. (Poetry)

Dorfman, A. "Gringos." Ed. L Furman. Visions from Finis Terrae (2008): 205-213. (Short Story)

Dorfman, A. "Dancing with Shadows musical." (July 2007).

Dorfman, A. "Stew." A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer (June 2007). (Short Story)

Dorfman, A. "Gringos." Ed. D Leavitt. The O. Henry Prize Stories 1 (June 2007). (Short Story)

Dorfman, A. "Goodbye to a Grandfather." Sekai (March 2007).

Dorfman, A. "Una semana con Gabo." El Pais (2007).

Dorfman, A. "Use What You Learned." The Chronicle of Higher Education (2007).

Dorfman, A. "Are We Really So Fearful?." Washington post (Washington, D.C. : 1974) (September 6, 2006). (Scholarly Commentary)


Death and the Maiden. Writer. (2006)


Reading at the Royal Court Theatre as part of its 50th Anniversity celebration, honoring the most popular plays to have opened there.

The Other Side. Writer. (2005)

Purgatorio. Writer. (2005)

Purgatorio. Writer. (2005)


2/4/05 - 2/6/05. Workshop production staged by Theater Previews at Duke University.

The Other Side. Writer. (2004)


World premiere at The New National Theatre in Tokyo, Japan.

Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark. Writer. (2000)


PBS transmission of Kennedy Center performance,

Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark. Writer. (2000)


Kennedy Center

Konfidenz. Writer. (2000)


With Rodrigo Dorfman. Radio play for the BBC,

Dead Line. Writer. (1998)


Co-written with Rodrigo Dorfman. Based on poems from Ariel Dorfman's book Last Waltz in Santiago.