Ariel Dorfman Analysis

Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

In addition to his novels, Ariel Dorfman has written short stories, poems, essays, and plays. Probably his best-known work is the play Death and the Maiden (pr. 1990), which he also adapted as a screenplay and an opera. He has written seven plays and one musical. He also has published collections of short stories and poems, and his essays deal with subjects including political oppression, American foreign intervention, and exile. His memoir, Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey, was published in 1998.


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Ariel Dorfman received honorary doctorates from Illinois Wesleyan University (1989), Wooster College (1991), Bradford College (1993), and American University (2001). His novels and plays have garnered many awards. Chile-Films, Santiago, named his unproduced screenplay Balmaceda the best screenplay in 1972. The novel Hard Rain was accorded the Premio Ampliado Sudamericana-La Opinión in 1973. His play Death and the Maiden has outdone all other writings in terms of awards: In London, it won the Time Out Award and the Sir Laurence Olivier Award, both for best play of the season (1991-1992). In Korea, the play won the Dong Award for best play (1992-1993), and in Canada, it won several Dora Mavor Moore Awards, including for outstanding play or musical (1994). It also won Japan’s Yoshiko Yuasa Prize for best foreign play (1999).

Dorfman also received two Kennedy Center Theater Awards: the Kennedy Center/American Express New Plays Award for Widows and the Roger L. Stevens Award for Extraordinary Playwriting for Reader. In 1995, the Writers Guild of Great Britain recognized Prisoners in Time as the best television drama; it was written with his son Rodrigo. Dorfman also won the ALOA Prize in Denmark for his memoir Heading South, Looking North in 2002. He served as the Walter Hines Page Distinguished Professor of Literature and Latin American Studies at Duke University.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

“Ariel Dorfman.” In Dictionary of Hispanic Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1996. Biographical essay focuses on Dorfman’s poetry for the desaparecidos (those whom the Chilean government termed subversive and were taken from their homes by the secret police, never to be heard from again) and includes a list of his works.

Dorfman, Ariel. “Ariel Dorfman.” Interview by Danny Postel. The Progressive, December, 1998. This interview with Dorfman discusses the political events that led to his writing Death and the Maiden, among other works.

Dorfman, Ariel. Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998. This is a remarkable autobiography which details the events, both internal and external, that created the writer.