Elaine Chen

Elaine Chen


Elaine Chen received her B.A. in German Studies, with a minor in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (2016), and M.A. in German Studies (2020) from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). In her M.A. thesis entitled “A Portrait of the Artist as a Dead Man: Thomas Mann and Stefan Zweig’s Receptions of Kleist’s Literary Suicide(s),” she explored Mann and Zweig’s exchanges regarding Kleist’s stories, life, and death and the impact of these observations on their novella authorship. Elaine focuses on the German theater and novella traditions and the extent to which German playwrights and novella authors were influenced by or influenced writers in different cultural traditions. Elaine is also interested in representations of race, gender, and sexuality in these forms, as well as relationships between the hard sciences and aesthetic theory and practice.

Elaine sees practical engagement in art and literature as a necessary counterpart of her scholarly and theoretical work and has completed internships at the Nationaltheater Mannheim (2015), the Schauspielhaus Salzburg (2017), and the Los Angeles Shakespeare Institute (2018), led by Louis Fantasia and sponsored by the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. In 2018, a Fulbright Combined Grant to conduct research in Salzburg, Austria enabled Elaine to complete a second internship at the Schauspielhaus Salzburg. In the summer of 2019, she worked as a dramaturgical intern for Evgeny Titov’s production of Maxim Gorky’s Summer Folk at the Salzburger Festspiele. Elaine also regularly writes and directs for the theater. Most recently, she directed Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s bourgeois tragedy Emilia Galotti for CSULB’s Theatre Threshold and co-adapted and -directed Georg Büchner’s Danton’s Tod with Jeffrey L. High.


“Stranger than Fiction: Stranger than Fiction: Thomas Mann and Stefan Zweig on Kleist’s Struggle with the Daemon.” Heinrich von Kleist: Artistic and Philosophical Legacies. Edited by Jeffrey L. High and Carrie Collenberg-González. Amsterdam/New York: Brill/ Rudolpi, forthcoming 2021.

With Jeffrey L. High, “Intertextual Allegories of Autonomy: From Schiller’s Bohemian Cup to Kleist’s Broken Jug.” Heinrich von Kleist: Artistic and Philosophical Paradigms. Edited by Jeffrey L. High, Rebecca Stewart, and Elaine Chen Rochester: Camden House, forthcoming 2021.

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