Arthur Holmberg

Arthur HolmbergBlanche, Barbara and Irving Laurie Professor of Theater Arts



Professor Holmberg has taught courses in English, French, Spanish, comparative literature, film, dramatic literature, theater history, dramaturgy, critical writing, and men’s studies. For many years, he headed the graduate program in playwriting at Brandeis. His books, "The Theatre of Robert Wilson," "David Mamet and American Macho" and "David Mamet and Male Friendship," use an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on anthropology, sociology, psychology, gender theory, sociolinguistics, history, literary theory, visual studies, and theories of sexuality. In addition to academia, Professor Holmberg has a career in the professional theater. As resident dramaturg and literary director of the American Repertory Theater at Harvard, he has worked with many artists, including Robert Wilson, David Mamet, Richard Foreman, Philip Glass and Anne Bogart. His articles on theater, film, and music have appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Sunday New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Stagebill,] and Opera News. He wrote the article for Leonard Bernstein’s recording of Wagner’s "Tristan und Isolde" and appeared in the film "Absolute Wilson" (2006). Professor Holmberg's background in scholarship, in theater criticism, and in professional dramaturgy informs all his courses. His classes bridge the worlds of theory and practice, the library and the stage. Professor Holmberg has given lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the Sicilian puppet theater and on Ibsen's visual poetry at the Centre for Ibsen Studies, University of Oslo, Norway. He has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

Awards and Honors


Holmberg, Arthur. "Body Language in Ibsen." International Ibsen Festival. Oslo, Norway. September 14, 2016.

Holmberg, Arthur. "Male Banter in Mamet." Norwegian National Dramaturgs Association. September 16, 2016.

Holmberg, Arthur. David Mamet and Male Friendship: Buddy Plays and Buddy Films. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Holmberg, Arthur. David Mamet and American Macho. Cambridge England: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Holmberg, Arthur. "'Tristan und Isolde': A Drama of the Soul." Article to accompany Leonard Bernstein's recording of "Tristan und Isolde". (Fall/Winter, 2010-2011): vol. Brochure with LP, reprinted with CDs 3. rpt. Wagneriana. Ed. Dalia Geffen. Vol. 8 ed. Netherlands: Phillips Records, 2011.

Absolute Wilson. Holmberg, Arthur. New Yorker Films, 2006.

Holmberg, Arthur. "David Mamet's 'Oleanna'." American Theatre. (1992): Writing about Theatre and Drama. Ed. Suzanne Hudson. Second ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006.

Holmberg, Arthur. "Knights in Shining Armour/ Damsels in Distress?: The Sicilian Puppet Theater’s 'Orlando Furioso'." Metropolitan Museum of Art, Feb. 2006

Greed: Misers in Molière. Holmberg, Arthur. American Repertory Theatre, 2004.

Holmberg, Arthur. "The Mystery of Oedipus." Articles, 11, 4 (2004).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Andrei Serban." Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance. 2003.

Holmberg, Arthur. "The Two Gentlemen of Verona: Shakespearean Comedy as Rite of Passage." Queen's Quarterly. (1983): vol. Spring 1983 rpt. Shakespearean Criticism. 2003.

Holmberg, Arthur. "Through the Eyes of Lolita." ART News. (September, 1998): vol. XX Stages of Drama: Classical to Contemporary Theater, fifth edition. Ed. Klaus, Gilbert, and Field. 2003.

Quartet. By Heiner Müller. Dramaturg Holmberg, Arthur. Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, June 2001.

Holmberg, Arthur. "A Conversation with Heiner Müller." American Theatre December, 2001.

Holmberg, Arthur. "Müller as Machiavel." Stagebill June, 2001.

Holmberg, Arthur. "A Modern Spain Discovers a Modern Calderón." The Sunday New York Times. August 13, 2000

The Woods. By David Mamet. Director Holmberg, Arthur. Merrick, Brandeis Graduate Actors, March, 1999.

Holmberg, Arthur, ed. The Lively ART: A Treasury of Criticism, Commentary, Observation, and Insight from Twenty Years of the American Repertory Theater. Chicago: Ivan Dee, 1999.

A Sermon. By David Mamet. Director Holmberg, Arthur. Merrick Theater, Brandeis Undergraduate, March, 1998.

Holmberg, Arthur. "Family Survival: An Interview with Christopher Durang." ART News XX. 1 (1998).

Holmberg, Arthur. "The Price of Fame: Robert Brustein on Lee Strasberg and the Studio." ART News XIX. 3 (1998).

Bon Marché Weather. By Gertrude Stein. Director Holmberg, Arthur. Spingold Theater Lobby, Brandeis Robots, March, 1997.

Ladies' Voices. By Gertrude Stein. Director Holmberg, Arthur. Merrick Theater, Brandeis Graduate Actors, March 1997.

Holmberg, Arthur. "An Opera Version of Oedipus the King." Opera News, Metropolitan Opera Guild, 1984. rpt. Readings on the Works of Sophocles. Greenhaven Press ed. 1997.

Holmberg, Arthur. "David Mamet's 'The Old Neighborhood'." ART News XVIII. 3 (1997).

Holmberg, Arthur. "It's Never Easy to Go Back: An Interview with David Mamet." ART News XVIII. 3 (1997).

The Still Alarm. By George S. Kaufman. Director Holmberg, Arthur. Merrick Theater, Brandeis Undergraduate and Graduate Actors, March 1996.

Holmberg, Arthur. "Fallen Angels at Sea: The Contradictory Prostitute in Anna Christie." The Eugene O'Neil Review Spring/Fall. (1996).

Holmberg, Arthur. The Theatre of Robert Wilson. Cambridge University Press; rpt. 1998, 2000, 2002, CUP paperback 2004., 1996.

Not I. By Beckett. Director Holmberg, Arthur. Merrick Theater, Marya Lowry, Brandeis Students, and Video, March, 1995.

Holmberg, Arthur. World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre (U.S. Editor). Routledge, paperback 2000, 1994.

Holmberg, Arthur. "Robert Wilson: Merlin of the Avant-Garde." The Los Angeles Sunday Times Magazine Aug. 8, 1993

Holmberg, Arthur. "Hamlet's Body: Sex and Politics in Shakespeare's Farce." American Theatre March, 1992.

Holmberg, Arthur. "Mamet's Play of Misunderstanding." American Theatre October, 1992.

Holmberg, Arthur. "Objects Speak Volumes: Paradox Haunts the Work of Robert Wilson and Mabou Mines." American Theatre April, 1991.

Holmberg, Arthur. "Waning of Spirituality Perplexes Theatre Artists." American Theatre June, 1991.

Holmberg, Arthur. "A Warning from Heiner Müller." The Sunday New York Times July 8, 1990

Holmberg, Arthur. "Lear Girds for a Remarkable Episode." The Sunday New York Times May 20, 1990

Holmberg, Arthur. "The Heiner Müller Festival." Western European Stages II, City University of New York. (1990).

Holmberg, Arthur. "American Dreams." American Theatre April, 1989. (1989).

Holmberg, Arthur. "The Canon and the Repertory." Boston Review August, 1989. (1989).

Holmberg, Arthur. "A Dialogue with Robert Wilson and Heiner Müller." Modern Drama October, 1988. (1988).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Machiavellis of the Bedroom: An Erotic Endgame." ART News VIII. 2 (1988).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Pirandello's Reflections on Reflections." ART News VIII. 2 (1988).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Robert Wilson Rehearses." ART News VIII. 2 (1988).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Shakespeare Alive." Rev. of Shakespeare Alive, by Joseph Papp and Elizabeth Kirkland. The Sunday New York Times Book Review April, 1988

Holmberg, Arthur. "The Liberation of Lear." American Theatre July. (1988).

Numerous productions. By Chekhov, Heiner Müller, Pirandello, Calderón de la Barca, Shakespeare, Molière, Gozzi, John Ford, Ibsen, Racine, Euripides, Shaw, Brecht, Don DeLillo, Paula Vogel, Philip Glass, and David Mamet among others. Resident Dramaturg/ Literary Director. Holmberg, Arthur. American Repertory Theater, 1987-1989; 1996 to present.

Holmberg, Arthur. "Getting a Fix on Pirandello." American Theatre March. (1987).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Greek Tragedy in a New Mask Speaks to Today's Audiences." The Sunday New York TimesMarch 1, 1987

Holmberg, Arthur. ""JoAnne Akalaitis Directs 'The Balcony'." Rev. of The Balcony, by Jean Genet. Performing Arts Journal vol. 28 1986

Holmberg, Arthur. "Another Opening, Another Show?." The Antioch Review Spring, 1986. (1986).

Holmberg, Arthur. "The Professional Critic: Arthur Holmberg on 'The Three Sisters'." Theatre: A Way of Seeing. Second ed. Ed. Milly S. Barranger. Belmont: Wadsworth, 1986

Holmberg, Arthur. "'Uneasy Farce: Molière's 'Les Femmes savantes'." by Molière. Theatre Journal vol. 37:4 1985

Holmberg, Arthur. "Act of Faith: Apollinaire's 'Les Mamelles de Tirésias'." Opera News L:7. (1985).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Comedy of Violence: Chabrol's La Danse de Mort." Rev. of The Dance of Death, by Strindberg. Performing Arts Journal vol. 25 1985

Holmberg, Arthur. "François Mauriac découvre une téléologie du corps." Cahiers François Mauriac: Livre du centennaire (1985).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Milan Kundera's Confrontation with the Stage." Performing Arts Journal 25 (1985).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Susan Sontag on Theater." Performing Arts Journal 25. (1985).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Thérèse Desqueyroux: L'Impossibilité du moi." Cahiers François Mauriac: Livre du centennaire (1985).

Holmberg, Arthur. "'Mother Courage' Via Broadway." Rev. of Mother Courage, by Brecht. Theatre Journal vol. XXXVI: December 1984

Holmberg, Arthur. "Lectures de Jeunesse, Livres de Maturité." Cahiers François Mauriac 11. (1984).

Holmberg, Arthur. "New Views of Shakespeare from Lectern to Stage." The Sunday New York Times October 7, 1984

Holmberg, Arthur. "Patrice Chéreau's Earthly Visions: Making the Verb Flesh." Performing Arts Journal 22 (1984).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Plays Within Plays that Comment on Ourselves: The Sociology of Broadway." The Sunday New York Times September 17, 1984

Holmberg, Arthur. "The Business of Business in American Theater." The Sunday New York Times December 2, 1984

Holmberg, Arthur. "Theater Without Words: Strategy of the Unspoken in Franz Xaver Kroetz." The Sunday New York Times October 7, 1984

Holmberg, Arthur. "Cynicism and Sentimentality." Rev. of "School for Scandal", by Sheridan. Performing Arts Journal vol. 83 1983

Holmberg, Arthur. "Deconstructing 'Hamlet'." Rev. of Hamlet, by Shakespeare. Performing Arts Journal vol. 20 July, 1983

Holmberg, Arthur. "Jonathan Miller Bids Farewell to the Stage." The Sunday New York Times May 29, 1983

Holmberg, Arthur. "Jonathan Miller's 'School for Scandal': Cynicism and Sentimentality." Rev. of School for Scandal, by Sheridan. Performing Arts Journal vol. 21 1983

Holmberg, Arthur. "Juggling 'The Comedy of Errors'." Rev. of The Comedy of Errors, by Shakespeare. Performing Arts Journal vol. 20 July, 1983

Holmberg, Arthur. "Light and Shadow in Chekhov's 'The Three Sisters'." Rev. of The Three Sisters, by Chekhov. Performing Arts Journal vol. 20 July, 1983

Holmberg, Arthur. "Proust Is Filmed at Last." The Sunday New York Times July 24, 1983

Holmberg, Arthur. "Strindberg's Tempest." by Giorgio Strehler. Theatre Journal vol. XXXV:4 December, 1983

Holmberg, Arthur. "Variaciones en el tema del honor en 'La dama duende' de Calderón de la Barca." Actas del Congreso sobre Calderón de la Barca y el teatro español del Siglo de Oro. Madrid: Instituto Miguel de Cervantes, 1983

Holmberg, Arthur. "Carlos Fuentes Turns to the Theater: 'Orchids in the Moonlight'." The Sunday New York Times June 6, 1982

Holmberg, Arthur. "Constructing a Self: Susan Sontag's Pirandello." Rev. of As You Desire Me, by Pirandello. Theatre Journal vol. XXXIV:1 March, 1982

Holmberg, Arthur. "Les Plaisirs de l'Île Enchantée: Molière's Fêtes Galantes." Rev. of Les Plaisirs de l'Île Enchantée, by Molière. Theatre Journal vol. XXXIV: 3 October, 1982

Holmberg, Arthur. "Super- and Hyper-Realism: Recent Trends in the American Theatre." The International Herald Tribune August, 1982

Holmberg, Arthur. "T. S. Eliot: The Poet as Playwright." The Sunday New York Times November 21, 1982

Holmberg, Arthur. "The Children of Paris: The Play as Play: Voltaire, Claudel, Colette, Arrabal." The Antioch Review Summer, 1982. (1982).

Holmberg, Arthur. "The Little Prince and the Aviator: Saint-Exupéry's Fable for Adults Comes to the Stage." The Sunday New York Times January 17, 1982

Holmberg, Arthur. "Free Theatre: Barcelona's Theatre Lliure." The International Herald Tribune February 22, 1981

Holmberg, Arthur. "La polémique littéraire de François Mauriac." Cahiers François Mauriac 8. (1981).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Listening to the Voice of the Bard." The Sunday New York Times July 19, 1981

Holmberg, Arthur. "Opening Pandora's Box: Wedekind's 'Lulu'." Opera News XLV. 8 (1981).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Redeeming All: Shakespeare's 'Othello'." Rev. of Othello, by Shakespeare. Theatre Journalvol. XXXIII:2 May, 1981

Holmberg, Arthur. "Samuel Beckett in the Age of Godot." The International Herald Tribune April 19, 1981

Holmberg, Arthur. "Shakespeare in Italy." The International Herald Tribune February 15, 1981

Holmberg, Arthur. "Shakespeare in Spain." Rev. of Macbeth, by Shakespeare. Shakespeare Quarterly vol. 32:2 1981

Holmberg, Arthur. "Singing to the Soul: 'The Mystery Play of Elche'." The International Herald Tribune August 9, 1981

Holmberg, Arthur. "Tears and Laughter: The Call to Life in 'Werther'." (1981): rpt. 1990, 2004, 2005, 2006 ed. The Hague: Phonogram, 1981.

Holmberg, Arthur. "Core of Loneliness: Büchner's 'Woyzeck'." Opera News XLIV. 15 (1980).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Dramatic Logic in Shakespeare's Sonnets." Rev. of Sonnets, by Shakespeare. Theatre Journal vol. XXXII 1980

Holmberg, Arthur. "Love and Aggression in 'Antony and Cleopatra'." Rev. of Antony and Cleopatra, by Shakespeare. Shakespeare Quarterly vol. 31:2 1980

Holmberg, Arthur. "Spain Rediscovers the Theater of Lorca." The Sunday New York Times April 13, 1980

Holmberg, Arthur. "Theatre to Make Intellectuals Cry: Tadeusz Kantor's 'Wielopole, Wielopole'." The International Herald Tribune October 11, 1980

Holmberg, Arthur. "A New Vitality for the Spanish Stage." The Sunday New York Times April 13, 1979

Holmberg, Arthur. "A Special Radiance in 'Twelfth Night'." Rev. of Twelfth Night, by Shakespeare. Theatre Journal vol. XXXI 1979

Holmberg, Arthur. "Confrontation with the Self: Facing Death in Bernanos's 'Les dialogues Des Carmélites'." Opera News 43. 10 (1979).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Coquelico." Rev. of Coquelico, by Josef Svoboda. Theatre Journal vol. XXXI:3 October, 1979

Holmberg, Arthur. "Ingmar Bergman Directs Chekhov." Rev. of Three Sisters, by Chekhov. Theatre Journal vol. XXXI 1979

Holmberg, Arthur. "John Gabriel Borkman." Rev. of John Gabriel Borkman, by Ibsen. Theatre Journal vol. XXXI 1979

Holmberg, Arthur. "Prospero's Dead: Caliban Reigns at Stratford." The Washington Post March 25, 1979

Holmberg, Arthur. "Salzburg." The Washington Post September 2, 1979

Holmberg, Arthur. "The Passing of That Which Once Was Great." Performing Arts Review IX. 4 (1979).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Dour Edinburgh, Gracious Host." The Washington Post October 1, 1978

Holmberg, Arthur. "Louis Lambert and Maximiliano Rubín: The Inner Vision and the Outer Man." The Hispanic Review VII. 2 (1978).

Holmberg, Arthur. "The Other Stratford." Drama Autumn. (1978).

Holmberg, Arthur. "Balzac and Galdós: Comment aiment les filles?." Comparative Literature XXXIX. 2 (1977): 109-123.

Holmberg, Arthur. "The Festival of Avignon." Performing Arts Review VII. 2 (1977).

Holmberg, Arthur. "'Marcel Maréchal: La Mise en théâtre'." Rev. of La Mise en théâtre, by Marcel Maréchal. The French Review vol. XLIX 1976