Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse
Scholars and activists

Ariel Dorfman Bio


Dorfman, Ariel Ariel Dorfman(b. 1942), Ariel Dorfman, Chilean-American professor of Literature and Latin American Studies at Duke University since 1985; playwright, political essayist, poet, novelist.

  • Dorfman's website at Duke
  • He wrote the following message, included on Doug Ireland's blog:
    "I owe so much to Marcuse - he was the first one, as I can recall, who made me understand why we had to oppose both the Soviet system and its capitalist twisted mirror. But I simply have not a moment to spare - and if I were to write something it should be a real reckoning trying to figure out what was so deeply right, but also what went wrong. Or maybe simply how we misapplied Marcuse. I have not given it much thought and should but at the moment simply can't.
    "The only reference in my work which others may find interesting in this regard is the chapter of Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey, where I tell the story of our trip to Berkeley from pre-revolutionary Chile in 1968-69, and then our return to Santiago to join the Allende revolution which was about to burst onto world history. I deal in that chapter with how deeply influenced I was by what I lived in the States (which is to say, by those who were reading and following Marcuse), and at the same time about how lacking I found those movements in maturity, relationship with real workers, capacity to comprehend that radical change means engaging vast sectors of society whose members do not seem to be immediate or obvious allies. Part of that chapter is a way in which I hint at how sexuality and revolution tend to have been at odds and should not be, a questioning of the limits between personal and collective liberation."
  • Publications:
    Play Death and the Maiden later made into a film directed by Roman Polanski.
    Book Other Septembers, Many Americas: Selected Provocations, 1980-2004 (Seven Stories Press) is an excellent introduction to his work, exploring the ways Americans apply amnesia to their yesterdays and innocence to their tomorrows.
    Book Exorcising Terror: The Incredible Unending Trial of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Desert Memories (National Geographic)
    Coauthor with his son Joaquin of the novel The Burning City.
Index entries: Dorfman, Ariel