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Identifier: R-MC 107

Phillys Zatlin Papers


  • 1946-2009, bulk 1970-2000

Scope and Content Note

The Phyllis Zatlin Papers consist of 7.5 cubic feet of material contained in 15 legal-size manuscript boxes, one short top box, and one oversize box. Zatlin's papers span the years 1946 to 2009 with the bulk dating from 1970 to 2000. Document types include personal and professional correspondence, manuscripts, articles, notes, drafts, ephemera, audiocassette tapes, and compact discs.

The collection is composed of Phyllis Zatlin's personal papers related to her scholarship in the field of Spanish theater and literature, and her work as both a professor and administrator at Rutgers University. The collection is divided into four series: SUBJECT FILES I & II, AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS, and POSTERS. The largest series, SUBJECT FILES I & II, document Zatlin's article and book-length scholarly projects, work with Estreno, and university and community service. Zatlin corresponded regularly with Spanish theater critics and playwrights throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and this correspondence is a large portion of the Individuals sub-series in SUBJECT FILES I and Correspondence in SUBJECT FILES II. Duplicate and unpublished dramatic texts collected or consulted by Zatlin during her scholarly research, translation work, and editorial duties with Estreno are also arranged in the Individuals sub-series. Many of these plays are in early draft form or were published only as stage scripts, other plays can be found in the Plays subseries in SUBJECT FILES II. Zatlin's involvement in local and national theater productions is represented by the theater ephemera in the series, especially for playwrights Antonio Gala, Fernando Arrabal, and Federico García Lorca. Theater ephemera are also stored in the POSTERS series, made up of posters from various French and Spanish productions and Spanish theater conferences. Zatlin's interviews with Spanish and French literary figures, such as Eduardo Manet, Elena Quiroga, and Jaime Salom, as well as recordings of drama productions are included in the AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS series in various formats.

Due to the regional focus of Zatlin's work, most of the documents in the SUBJECT FILES I & II and the entirety of the AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS are in a foreign language, primarily Spanish. Some files and audiovisual materials, such as those relating to Eduardo Manet, are in French. Additionally, the DVD disc in AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS is in European format and requires a Region 2 DVD player. Zatlin's scholarly, university, and community service work represent most of the English-language material in the collection.


7.5 Cubic Feet (15 legal-size manuscript boxes, 1 multimedia box, and 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials


Biographical Sketch

Dr. Phyllis Zatlin, literary critic, translator and professor of Spanish, was born on December 31, 1938, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Zatlin graduated as valedictorian from St. Petersburg High School, St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1956 and went on to complete her undergraduate education at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. In 1960, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and French, graduating with highest honors, including selection for Who's Who among American Colleges and Universities. With the encouragement from her French professor at Rollins, Robert Morgenroth, Zatlin was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and studied at the University of Grenoble, France, from 1960 to 1961. She returned to the United States in 1962 to earn a Master of Arts in Spanish from the University of Florida as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. Continuing her graduate work at the University of Florida, Zatlin received her Ph.D. in 1965 in Romance Languages; her dissertation was entitled The Bases of Humor in Contemporary Spanish Theater.

Zatlin joined the faculty of Rutgers University in 1963, and by 1966 was an Assistant Professor of Spanish and French. From 1971 to 1979, she was Associate Professor of Spanish, and was promoted to the rank of Professor in 1980. Active in university and department administration, Zatlin served as Assistant Dean of Rutgers College from 1974 until 1980 and as Department Chair and Graduate Director for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese from 1980 to 1987. In addition, she founded the Rutgers in Spain summer program in 1982 and directed the program until 1999. Zatlin also established a translator and interpreter training program in the department. She was the coordinator of the program from 1987 until her retirement. Upon retirement in December of 2008, she was granted the title of Professor Emerita.

Zatlin became a leading scholar in the field of Spanish literary criticism, as she researched, published, and presented extensively over the course of her forty-year career. She published her first book-length critical examination in 1977 on Elena Quiroga, a twentieth-century Spanish novelist. Zatlin followed with two books on Spanish playwrights for the Twayne's World Authors Series: Victor Ruiz Iriarte, published in 1980, and Jaime Salom, published in 1982. Zatlin's articles and conference presentations covered all aspects of Spanish theater, particularly highlighting the work of female Hispanic playwrights such as Ana Diosdado and Paloma Pedrero. Her scholarly interests expanded further into the comparative study of Spanish and French theater, and she published Cross-Cultural Approaches to Theatre: The Spanish-French Connection in 1994.

Throughout the 1990s, Zatlin performed extensive research on French playwright and Cuban exile Eduardo Manet. Manet corresponded with Zatlin regularly, providing drafts and unpublished versions of his works while she wrote the first book-length examination of his novels and plays. Pennsylvania State University Press published Zatlin's The Novels and Plays of Eduardo Manet: An Adventure in Multi-Culturalism in 2000. Zatlin's articles and book served as the initial introduction of Manet's work to North American audiences.

Zatlin's work in literary translation led to her participation in the staging and production of Hispanic theater in America, including the plays of Manet, Paloma Pedrero, Antonio Gala, and Federico García Lorca. She has held positions on theater advisory boards. In addition to working actively as a theater translator and publishing translated editions of Spanish drama, Zatlin has worked in several editorial capacities for Estreno, a journal dedicated to contemporary Spanish theater, since 1982. She has also held a position on the advisory board of the journal Art Teatral since 1997.

Phyllis Zatlin is known by her colleagues for her exhaustive and extensive research into French and Spanish theater. She has garnered recognition from both her undergraduate and graduate alma maters, receiving a Distinguished Alumna Award from Rollins College in 1985 and the University of Florida Romance Languages and Literature Department's Outstanding Alumni Award in 2003. The Spanish Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (General Society of Authors and Editors) recognized Zatlin for her efforts in the promotion of Spanish theatre in the United States in 1997. Into the early twenty-first century, Zatlin's work remains a backbone in the study of the multiculturalism of Spanish and French playwrights.

Arrangement Note

Audiovisual materials and oversize posters were removed from the SUBJECT FILES and placed within their own format-specific series.

The following materials were removed from the collection and transferred to the Rutgers University Publications Collection:

  1. La Casa, Vol. 1 No. 1 (Fall 1995)
  2. La Casa, Vol. 1 No. 2 (Fall 1996)
  3. La Casa, Vol. 1 No. 3 (Fall 1997)
  4. La Casa, Vol. 1 No. 4 (Fall 1998)
  5. La Casa, Vol. 1 No. 5 (Fall 1999)
  6. La Casa, Vol. 1 No. 6 (Fall 2000)
  7. La Casa, Vol. 1 No. 7 (Fall 2001)
  8. La Casa, Vol. 1 No. 8 (Fall 2002)
  9. La Casa, Vol. 1 No. 9 (Fall 2003)
  10. La Casa, Vol. 1 No. 10 (Fall 2005)

In 2013, a new accession of materials was incorporated into the existing collection. Some materials, such as correspondence, were incorporated into existing folders. The remaining documents were arranged into subseries based on their subject matter within Subject Series II.

Guide to the Phyllis Zatlin Papers, 1946-2009 R-MC 107
Edited Full Draft
Susannah Gibbons, Diane Sweatlock, Weatherly Stephan, and Fernanda Perrone
February 2010
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Part of the Rutgers University Archives Repository

Rutgers University Libraries
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
169 College Avenue
New Brunswick NJ 08901-1163
732-932-7012 (Fax)