Catherine Larson

Catherine Larson

Professor Emerita, Spanish and Portuguese


  • Ph.D., University of Kansas, 1982
  • M.A., University of Missouri, 1979
  • B.A., Education, University of Missouri, 1972

About Catherine Larson

My research treats early modern-contemporary Iberian and Spanish American theater and drama, especially texts written by women. My first book, Language and the Comedia, Theory and Practice (1991), used linguistically oriented models such as speech act theory to offer new approaches for analyzing early modern Spanish dramatic texts. Games and Play in the Theater of Spanish American Women (2004) employed game theory to underscore dramatists subversive use of childrens games in their treatment of serious socio-cultural and political issues. I co-edited two collections of critical essays: Brave New Words: Studies in Spanish Golden Age Literature (with Edward H. Friedman, 1996) and Latin American Women Dramatists: Theater, Texts, and Theories (with Margarita Vargas, 1999). A third edition, Espectáculo: Antología del drama hispánico (with Denise DiPuccio, in press), is intended for both general and scholarly audiences.

In recent years, my research has focused attention on performance, translation, and adaptation. Working with Valerie Hegstrom, I translated María de Zayas’s La traición en la Amistad (Friendship Betrayed, 1999) and Ângela de Azevedo’s El muerto disimulado (Presumed Dead, 2018) for bilingual print editions. In both cases, the translations have been staged by a number of university and professional companies. I also recently published several essays on translating and adapting classical plays for the modern stage and on the mutual influence of performance theory and the creation of theatrical spectacle. My current work includes an article-length study of Spanish street theater; the essay focuses attention on the annual Moors and Christians performances that take place in the Valencia-Alicante region.