Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen

Overview
Henrik Ibsen (ˈhɛnɾɪk ˈɪpsən; 20 March 1828 – 23 May 1906) was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 in the theatre. His major works include Brand
Brand (play)
Brand is a play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It is a verse tragedy, written in 1865 and first performed in Stockholm on 24 March 1867. Brand was an intellectual play that provoked much original thought....

, Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt is a five-act play in verse by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, loosely based on the fairy tale Per Gynt. It is the most widely performed Norwegian play. According to Klaus Van Den Berg, the "cinematic script blends poetry with social satire and realistic scenes with surreal ones"...

, An Enemy of the People
An Enemy of the People
An Enemy of the People is an 1882 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen wrote it in response to the public outcry against his play Ghosts, which at that time was considered scandalous...

, Emperor and Galilean
Emperor and Galilean
Emperor and Galilean is a play written by Henrik Ibsen. Although it is one of the writer’s lesser known plays, on several occasions Henrik Ibsen called Emperor and Galilean his major work...

, A Doll's House
A Doll's House
A Doll's House is a three-act play in prose by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It premièred at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 21 December 1879, having been published earlier that month....

, Hedda Gabler
Hedda Gabler
Hedda Gabler is a play first published in 1890 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play premiered in 1891 in Germany to negative reviews, but has subsequently gained recognition as a classic of realism, nineteenth century theatre, and world drama...

, Ghosts
Ghosts (play)
Ghosts is a play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It was written in 1881 and first staged in 1882.Like many of Ibsen's better-known plays, Ghosts is a scathing commentary on 19th century morality....

, The Wild Duck
The Wild Duck
The Wild Duck is an 1884 play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.-Plot:The first act opens with a dinner party hosted by Håkon Werle, a wealthy merchant and industrialist. The gathering is attended by his son, Gregers Werle, who has just returned to his father's home following a self-imposed...

, and Rosmersholm
Rosmersholm
Rosmersholm is a play written in 1886 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. In the estimation of many critics the piece is Ibsen's masterwork, only equalled by The Wild Duck of 1884...

.

Several of his plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when European theater was required to model strict mores of family life and propriety.
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Quotations

Erring soul of man — if thou wast indeed forced to err, it shall surely be accounted to thee for good on that great day when the Mighty One shall descend in the clouds to judge the living dead and the dead who are yet alive!

Makrina, in Emperor and Galilean|Emperor and Galilean (1873), Final lines.

The great secret of power is never to will to do more than you can accomplish. The great secret of action and victory is to be capable of living your life without ideals. Such is the sum of the whole world's wisdom.

As quoted in The Ibsen Calendar : A Quotation from the Works of Henrik Ibsen for Every Day (1913) by C. A. Arfwedson

I hold that man is in the right who is most closely in league with the future.

Letter to Georg Brandes|Georg Brandes (3 January 1882)

The great task of our time is to blow up all existing institutions — to destroy.

Letter of 1883, quoted in The Drama of Ibsen and Strindberg (1962) by Frank Laurence Lucas, p. 34

Tvertimot!

On the contrary!

I thank God that in the bath of Pain He purged my love. What strong compulsion drew Me on I knew not, till I saw in you The treasure I had blindly sought in vain. I praise Him, who our love has lifted thus To noble rank by sorrow, — licensed us To a triumphal progress, bade us sweep Thro' fen and forest to our castle-keep, A noble pair, astride on Pegasus|Pegasus!

Falk, Act III
Encyclopedia
Henrik Ibsen (ˈhɛnɾɪk ˈɪpsən; 20 March 1828 – 23 May 1906) was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 in the theatre. His major works include Brand
Brand (play)
Brand is a play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It is a verse tragedy, written in 1865 and first performed in Stockholm on 24 March 1867. Brand was an intellectual play that provoked much original thought....

, Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt is a five-act play in verse by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, loosely based on the fairy tale Per Gynt. It is the most widely performed Norwegian play. According to Klaus Van Den Berg, the "cinematic script blends poetry with social satire and realistic scenes with surreal ones"...

, An Enemy of the People
An Enemy of the People
An Enemy of the People is an 1882 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen wrote it in response to the public outcry against his play Ghosts, which at that time was considered scandalous...

, Emperor and Galilean
Emperor and Galilean
Emperor and Galilean is a play written by Henrik Ibsen. Although it is one of the writer’s lesser known plays, on several occasions Henrik Ibsen called Emperor and Galilean his major work...

, A Doll's House
A Doll's House
A Doll's House is a three-act play in prose by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It premièred at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 21 December 1879, having been published earlier that month....

, Hedda Gabler
Hedda Gabler
Hedda Gabler is a play first published in 1890 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play premiered in 1891 in Germany to negative reviews, but has subsequently gained recognition as a classic of realism, nineteenth century theatre, and world drama...

, Ghosts
Ghosts (play)
Ghosts is a play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It was written in 1881 and first staged in 1882.Like many of Ibsen's better-known plays, Ghosts is a scathing commentary on 19th century morality....

, The Wild Duck
The Wild Duck
The Wild Duck is an 1884 play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.-Plot:The first act opens with a dinner party hosted by Håkon Werle, a wealthy merchant and industrialist. The gathering is attended by his son, Gregers Werle, who has just returned to his father's home following a self-imposed...

, and Rosmersholm
Rosmersholm
Rosmersholm is a play written in 1886 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. In the estimation of many critics the piece is Ibsen's masterwork, only equalled by The Wild Duck of 1884...

.

Several of his plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when European theater was required to model strict mores of family life and propriety. Ibsen's work examined the realities that lay behind many façades, revealing much that was disquieting to many contemporaries. It utilized a critical eye and free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

. The poetic and cinematic play Peer Gynt, however, has strong surreal
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

 elements.

Ibsen is often ranked as one of the truly great playwrights in the European tradition. Richard Hornby describes him as "a profound poetic dramatist—the best since Shakespeare". He influenced other playwrights and novelists such as George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60...

, Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

, James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

, and Eugene O'Neill
Eugene O'Neill
Eugene Gladstone O'Neill was an American playwright and Nobel laureate in Literature. His poetically titled plays were among the first to introduce into American drama techniques of realism earlier associated with Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Swedish...

. Many critics consider him the greatest playwright since Shakespeare.

Although most of his plays are set in Norway—often in places reminiscent of Skien
Skien
' is a city and municipality in Telemark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Grenland. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Skien. Skien is also the administrative centre of Telemark county....

, the port town where he grew up—Ibsen lived for 27 years in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, and rarely visited Norway during his most productive years.

Family and youth



Ibsen was born to Knud Ibsen
Knud Ibsen
Knud Ibsen was the father of playwright Henrik Ibsen, and is widely considered the model for many central characters in his son's plays, including most famously Jon Gynt in Peer Gynt and Old Ekdahl in The Wild Duck, but also Daniel Hejre in The League of Youth.Once a rich merchant in Skien with a...

  (1797–1877) and Marichen Altenburg (1799–1869), a well-to-do merchant family, in the small port town of Skien
Skien
' is a city and municipality in Telemark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Grenland. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Skien. Skien is also the administrative centre of Telemark county....

 in Telemark
Telemark
is a county in Norway, bordering Vestfold, Buskerud, Hordaland, Rogaland and Aust-Agder. The county administration is in Skien. Until 1919 the county was known as Bratsberg amt.-Location:...

 county, a city which was noted for shipping timber. As he wrote in an 1882 letter to critic and scholar Georg Brandes
Georg Brandes
Georg Morris Cohen Brandes was a Danish critic and scholar who had great influence on Scandinavian and European literature from the 1870s through the turn of the 20th century. He is seen as the theorist behind the "Modern Breakthrough" of Scandinavian culture...

, "my parents were members on both sides of the most respected families in Skien", explaining that he was closely related with "just about all the patrician families who then dominated the place and its surroundings", mentioning the families Paus
Paus
Paus is a Norwegian and Swedish family of clergymen, civil servants, merchants, industrialists and land-owners, among others, traceable back to the late 15th century and a man named Oluf...

, Plesner, von der Lippe
Von der Lippe (Norwegian family)
von der Lippe is the surname of a prominent Norwegian family.In Norway, the surname is most frequently associated with the descendants Jacob von der Lippe , who immigrated from Bremen, Germany and became a citizen of Bergen, Norway in 1655. In Bergen, family members were merchants and business...

, Cappelen
Cappelen (family)
Cappelen is the surname of a prominent Norwegian family of merchants, land owners, civil servants and politicians. In the 18th and 19th century, it was one of the so-called patrician families in Norway, i.e...

 and Blom. According to Einar Ingvald Haugen, "there is more than a touch of pride in his bourgeois background in this enumeration of names whose very form associates them with the more or less foreign ancestry of the Norwegian upper middle class". Ibsen's grandfather, ship's captain Henrich Ibsen (1765–1797), had died at sea in 1797, and Knud Ibsen was raised on the estate of ship-owner Ole Paus (1776–1855), after his mother Johanne, née Plesner (1770–1847), remarried.
Knud Ibsen's paternal ancestors were ship's captains of Danish origin, but he decided to become a merchant, having initial success. His marriage to Marichen Altenburg, a daughter of ship-owner Johan Andreas Altenburg (1763–1824) and Hedevig Christine Paus (1763–1848), was "an excellent family arrangement. Marichen's mother and Knud's step-father were sister and brother, and the bride and groom, who had grown up together, were practically regarded as sister and brother themselves. Marichen Altenburg was a fine catch, the daughter of one of the wealthiest merchants in the prosperous lumber town of Skien." Theodore Jorgenson points out that "Henrik's ancestry [thus] reached back into the important Telemark family of Paus both on the father's and on the mother's side. Hedvig Paus must have been well known to the young dramatist, for she lived until 1848." Henrik Ibsen was fascinated by his parents' "strange, almost incestuous marriage," and would treat the subject of incestuous relationships in several plays, notably his masterpiece Rosmersholm
Rosmersholm
Rosmersholm is a play written in 1886 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. In the estimation of many critics the piece is Ibsen's masterwork, only equalled by The Wild Duck of 1884...

.

When Henrik Ibsen was around seven years old, however, his father's fortunes took a significant turn for the worse, and the family was eventually forced to sell the major Altenburg building in central Skien and move permanently to their small summer house, Venstøp, outside of the city. His bankruptcy made Knud Ibsen a moody and embittered man who turned to alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

, and Marichen became a recluse who found solace in piety
Piety
In spiritual terminology, piety is a virtue that can mean religious devotion, spirituality, or a combination of both. A common element in most conceptions of piety is humility.- Etymology :...

. Henrik's sister Hedvig would write about their mother: "She was a quiet, lovable woman, the soul of the house, everything to her husband and children. She sacrificed herself time and again. There was no bitterness or reproach in her." Marichen Altenburg was "small, brunette, and dark-complexioned, and the only existing likeness of her, a silhoutte, bears out the tradition that she was beautiful". The Ibsen family eventually moved to a city house, Snipetorp, owned by Knud Ibsen's half-brother, wealthy banker and ship-owner Christopher Blom Paus.

His déclassé background would have a strong influence on Ibsen's later work; the characters in his plays often mirror his parents, and his themes often deal with issues of financial difficulty as well as moral conflicts stemming from dark secrets hidden from society. Ibsen would both model and name characters in his plays after his own family.

At fifteen, Ibsen was forced to leave school. He moved to the small town of Grimstad
Grimstad
is a town and municipality in Aust-Agder county, Norway. It belongs to the geographical region of Sørlandet. The administrative center of the municipality is the town of Grimstad. Other notable places in Grimstad include Eide, Fevik, Fjære, Landvik, Prestegårdskogen, Reddal, and Roresanden.It is...

 to become an apprentice pharmacist
Pharmacist
Pharmacists are allied health professionals who practice in pharmacy, the field of health sciences focusing on safe and effective medication use...

 and began writing plays. In 1846, when Ibsen was age 18, a liaison with a servant
Domestic worker
A domestic worker is a man, woman or child who works within the employer's household. Domestic workers perform a variety of household services for an individual or a family, from providing care for children and elderly dependents to cleaning and household maintenance, known as housekeeping...

 produced an illegitimate child, whose upbringing Ibsen had to pay for until the boy was in his teens, though Ibsen never saw the boy. Ibsen went to Christiania
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 (later renamed Oslo) intending to matriculate at the university. He soon rejected the idea (his earlier attempts at entering university were blocked as he did not pass all his entrance exams), preferring to commit himself to writing. His first play, the tragedy
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

 Catiline
Catiline (play)
Catiline or Catalina was Henrik Ibsen's first play. It was written during winter 1848-49 and first performed under Ibsen's name on December 3, 1881 at the Nya Teatern , Stockholm, Sweden...

(1850), was published under the pseudonym
Pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

 "Brynjolf Bjarme", when he was only 20, but it was not performed. His first play to be staged, The Burial Mound
The Burial Mound
The Burial Mound was Henrik Ibsen's second play and the first play to be performed. It is a three-act verse drama, written in 1850 when Ibsen was 22 years old. The play was first performed at the Christiania Theater on 26 September 1850, under Ibsen's pseudonym Brynjolf Bjarme....

(1850), received little attention. Still, Ibsen was determined to be a playwright, although the numerous plays he wrote in the following years remained unsuccessful. Ibsen's main inspiration in the early period, right up to Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt is a five-act play in verse by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, loosely based on the fairy tale Per Gynt. It is the most widely performed Norwegian play. According to Klaus Van Den Berg, the "cinematic script blends poetry with social satire and realistic scenes with surreal ones"...

, was apparently Norwegian author Henrik Wergeland
Henrik Wergeland
Henrik Arnold Thaulow Wergeland was a Norwegian writer, most celebrated for his poetry but also a prolific playwright, polemicist, historian, and linguist...

 and the Norwegian folk tales as collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen was a Norwegian writer and scholar. He and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe were collectors of Norwegian folklore...

 and Jørgen Moe
Jørgen Moe
right|thumb|Norske Folkeeventyr Asbjørnsen and Moe Jørgen Engebretsen Moe was a Norwegian bishop and author...

. In Ibsen's youth, Wergeland was the most acclaimed, and by far the most read, Norwegian poet and playwright.

Life and writings


He spent the next several years employed at Det norske Theater (Bergen)
Det norske Theater (Bergen)
Det norske Theater is a former theatre in Bergen, Norway, and regarded as the first pure Norwegian stage theatre. It opened in 1850 by primus motor, violinist Ole Bull, and closed in 1863, after a bankrupty. The theatre's first production was Holberg's comedy Den Vægelsindede, and the opening was...

, where he was involved in the production of more than 145 plays as a writer, director, and producer. During this period, he did not publish any new plays of his own. Despite Ibsen's failure to achieve success as a playwright, he gained a great deal of practical experience at the Norwegian Theater, experience that was to prove valuable when he continued writing.

Ibsen returned to Christiania in 1858 to become the creative director of the Christiania Theatre
Christiania Theatre
Christiania Theatre, or Kristiania Theatre, was Norway's finest stage for the spoken drama between October 4, 1836 - September 1, 1899. It was located at Bankplassen by the Akershus Fortress in central Christiania, in Norway...

. He married Suzannah Thoresen
Suzannah Ibsen
Suzannah Ibsen was the wife of playwright and poet Henrik Ibsen.-Biography:Suzannah Daae Thoresen was born in Herøy, Møre og Romsdal, Norway. Her parents were Hans Conrad Thoresen and his second wife, Sara Margrethe Daae...

 on 18 June 1858 and she gave birth to their only child Sigurd
Sigurd Ibsen
Sigurd Ibsen was a Norwegian author and politician. As the only child of Henrik Ibsen and his wife Suzannah Thoresen, he was born to high expectations and struggled all his life to meet these.Sigurd Ibsen was born in Oslo...

 on 23 December 1859. The couple lived in very poor financial circumstances and Ibsen became very disenchanted with life in Norway. In 1864, he left Christiania and went to Sorrento
Sorrento
Sorrento is the name of many cities and towns:*Sorrento, Italy*Sorrento, Florida, United States*Sorrento, Louisiana, United States*Sorrento, Maine, United States*Sorrento, Victoria, a township on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia...

 in Italy in self-imposed exile. He was not to return to his native land for the next 27 years, and when he returned it was as a noted, but controversial, playwright.

His next play, Brand
Brand (play)
Brand is a play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It is a verse tragedy, written in 1865 and first performed in Stockholm on 24 March 1867. Brand was an intellectual play that provoked much original thought....

(1865), was to bring him the critical acclaim he sought, along with a measure of financial success, as was the following play, Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt is a five-act play in verse by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, loosely based on the fairy tale Per Gynt. It is the most widely performed Norwegian play. According to Klaus Van Den Berg, the "cinematic script blends poetry with social satire and realistic scenes with surreal ones"...

(1867), to which Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg
Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt , and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.-Biography:Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born in...

 famously composed incidental music
Incidental music
Incidental music is music in a play, television program, radio program, video game, film or some other form not primarily musical. The term is less frequently applied to film music, with such music being referred to instead as the "film score" or "soundtrack"....

 and songs. Although Ibsen read excerpts of the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel...

 and traces of the latter's influence are evident in Brand, it was not until after Brand that Ibsen came to take Kierkegaard seriously. Initially annoyed with his friend Georg Brandes for comparing Brand to Kierkegaard, Ibsen nevertheless read Either/Or
Either/Or
Published in two volumes in 1843, Either/Or is an influential book written by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, exploring the aesthetic and ethical "phases" or "stages" of existence....

and Fear and Trembling
Fear and Trembling
Fear and Trembling is an influential philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard, published in 1843 under the pseudonym Johannes de silentio...

. Ibsen's next play Peer Gynt was consciously informed by Kierkegaard.

With success, Ibsen became more confident and began to introduce more and more of his own beliefs and judgments into the drama, exploring what he termed the "drama of ideas". His next series of plays are often considered his Golden Age, when he entered the height of his power and influence, becoming the center of dramatic controversy across Europe.

Ibsen moved from Italy to Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

, Germany in 1868, where he spent years writing the play he regarded as his main work, Emperor and Galilean
Emperor and Galilean
Emperor and Galilean is a play written by Henrik Ibsen. Although it is one of the writer’s lesser known plays, on several occasions Henrik Ibsen called Emperor and Galilean his major work...

(1873), dramatizing the life and times of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate
Julian the Apostate
Julian "the Apostate" , commonly known as Julian, or also Julian the Philosopher, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363 and a noted philosopher and Greek writer....

. Although Ibsen himself always looked back on this play as the cornerstone of his entire works, very few shared his opinion, and his next works would be much more acclaimed. Ibsen moved to Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 in 1875 and published A Doll's House
A Doll's House
A Doll's House is a three-act play in prose by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It premièred at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 21 December 1879, having been published earlier that month....

in 1879. The play is a scathing criticism of the marital roles accepted by men and women which characterized Ibsen's society.

Ghosts
Ghosts (play)
Ghosts is a play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It was written in 1881 and first staged in 1882.Like many of Ibsen's better-known plays, Ghosts is a scathing commentary on 19th century morality....

followed in 1881, another scathing commentary on the morality of Ibsen's society, in which a widow reveals to her pastor that she had hidden the evils of her marriage for its duration. The pastor had advised her to marry her fiancé despite his philandering
Promiscuity
In humans, promiscuity refers to less discriminating casual sex with many sexual partners. The term carries a moral or religious judgement and is viewed in the context of the mainstream social ideal for sexual activity to take place within exclusive committed relationships...

, and she did so in the belief that her love would reform him. But his philandering continued right up until his death, and his vices are passed on to their son in the form of syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

. The mention of venereal disease alone was scandalous, but to show how it could poison a respectable family was considered intolerable.

In An Enemy of the People
An Enemy of the People
An Enemy of the People is an 1882 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen wrote it in response to the public outcry against his play Ghosts, which at that time was considered scandalous...

(1882), Ibsen went even further. In earlier plays, controversial elements were important and even pivotal components of the action, but they were on the small scale of individual households. In An Enemy, controversy became the primary focus, and the antagonist was the entire community. One primary message of the play is that the individual, who stands alone, is more often "right" than the mass of people, who are portrayed as ignorant and sheeplike. Contemporary society's belief was that the community was a noble institution that could be trusted, a notion Ibsen challenged. In An Enemy of the People, Ibsen chastised not only the conservatism
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 of society, but also the liberalism
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 of the time. He illustrated how people on both sides of the social spectrum could be equally self-serving. An Enemy of the People was written as a response to the people who had rejected his previous work, Ghosts. The plot of the play is a veiled look at the way people reacted to the plot of Ghosts. The protagonist is a physician in a vacation spot whose primary draw is a public bath. The doctor discovers that the water is contaminated by the local tannery
Tanning
Tanning is the making of leather from the skins of animals which does not easily decompose. Traditionally, tanning used tannin, an acidic chemical compound from which the tanning process draws its name . Coloring may occur during tanning...

. He expects to be acclaimed for saving the town from the nightmare of infecting visitors with disease, but instead he is declared an 'enemy of the people' by the locals, who band against him and even throw stones through his windows. The play ends with his complete ostracism. It is obvious to the reader that disaster is in store for the town as well as for the doctor.

As audiences by now expected of him, his next play again attacked entrenched beliefs and assumptions; but this time, his attack was not against society's mores, but against overeager reformers and their idealism. Always an iconoclast
Iconoclasm
Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually with religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes...

, Ibsen was equally willing to tear down the ideologies of any part of the political spectrum, including his own.

The Wild Duck
The Wild Duck
The Wild Duck is an 1884 play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.-Plot:The first act opens with a dinner party hosted by Håkon Werle, a wealthy merchant and industrialist. The gathering is attended by his son, Gregers Werle, who has just returned to his father's home following a self-imposed...

(1884) is by many considered Ibsen's finest work, and it is certainly the most complex. It tells the story of Gregers Werle, a young man who returns to his hometown after an extended exile and is reunited with his boyhood friend Hjalmar Ekdal. Over the course of the play, the many secrets that lie behind the Ekdals' apparently happy home are revealed to Gregers, who insists on pursuing the absolute truth, or the "Summons of the Ideal". Among these truths: Gregers' father impregnated his servant Gina, then married her off to Hjalmar to legitimize the child. Another man has been disgraced and imprisoned for a crime the elder Werle committed. Furthermore, while Hjalmar spends his days working on a wholly imaginary "invention", his wife is earning the household income.

Ibsen displays masterful use of irony
Irony
Irony is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or situation in which there is a sharp incongruity or discordance that goes beyond the simple and evident intention of words or actions...

: despite his dogmatic insistence on truth, Gregers never says what he thinks but only insinuates, and is never understood until the play reaches its climax. Gregers hammers away at Hjalmar through innuendo and coded phrases until he realizes the truth; Gina's daughter, Hedvig, is not his child. Blinded by Gregers' insistence on absolute truth, he disavows the child. Seeing the damage he has wrought, Gregers determines to repair things, and suggests to Hedvig that she sacrifice the wild duck, her wounded pet, to prove her love for Hjalmar. Hedvig, alone among the characters, recognizes that Gregers always speaks in code, and looking for the deeper meaning in the first important statement Gregers makes which does not contain one, kills herself rather than the duck in order to prove her love for him in the ultimate act of self-sacrifice. Only too late do Hjalmar and Gregers realize that the absolute truth of the "ideal" is sometimes too much for the human heart to bear.

Late in his career, Ibsen turned to a more introspective drama that had much less to do with denunciations of society's moral values. In such later plays as Hedda Gabler
Hedda Gabler
Hedda Gabler is a play first published in 1890 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play premiered in 1891 in Germany to negative reviews, but has subsequently gained recognition as a classic of realism, nineteenth century theatre, and world drama...

(1890) and The Master Builder
The Master Builder
The Master Builder is a play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It was first published in December 1892 and is regarded as one of Ibsen's most significant and revealing works.-Performance:...

(1892), Ibsen explored psychological conflicts that transcended a simple rejection of current conventions. Many modern readers, who might regard anti-Victorian didacticism as dated, simplistic or hackneyed, have found these later works to be of absorbing interest for their hard-edged, objective consideration of interpersonal confrontation. Hedda Gabler is probably Ibsen's most performed play, with the title role regarded as one of the most challenging and rewarding for an actress even in the present day. Hedda Gabler and A Doll's House center on female protagonists whose almost demonic energy proves both attractive and destructive for those around them, and while Hedda has a few similarities with the character of Nora in A Doll's House, many of today's audiences and theater critics feel that Hedda's intensity and drive are much more complex and much less comfortably explained than what they view as rather routine feminism on the part of Nora.

Ibsen had completely rewritten the rules of drama with a realism which was to be adopted by Chekhov
Anton Chekhov
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian physician, dramatist and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a dramatist produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics...

 and others and which we see in the theater to this day. From Ibsen forward, challenging assumptions and directly speaking about issues has been considered one of the factors that makes a play art
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

 rather than entertainment
Entertainment
Entertainment consists of any activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time. Entertainment is generally passive, such as watching opera or a movie. Active forms of amusement, such as sports, are more often considered to be recreation...

. He had a profound influence on the young James Joyce who venerates him in his early autobiographical novel "Stephen Hero". Ibsen returned to Norway in 1891, but it was in many ways not the Norway he had left. Indeed, he had played a major role in the changes that had happened across society. The Victorian Age was on its last legs, to be replaced by the rise of Modernism not only in the theater, but across public life.

Death



On 23 May 1906, Ibsen died in his home at Arbins gade 1 in Christiania
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 (now Oslo) after a series of stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

s in March 1900. When, on 22 May, his nurse assured a visitor that he was a little better, Ibsen spluttered his last words "On the contrary" ("Tvertimod!"). He died the following day at 2:30 P.M.

Ibsen was buried in Vår Frelsers gravlund
Vår Frelsers gravlund
Vår Frelsers gravlund is a cemetery in Oslo, Norway, located north of Hammersborg in Gamle Aker district. It was created in 1808 as a result of the great famine and cholera epidemic of the Napoleonic Wars. Its grounds were extended in 1911. The cemetery has been full since 1952...

 ("The Graveyard of Our Savior") in central Oslo.

Centenary


The 100th anniversary of Ibsen's death in 2006 was commemorated with an "Ibsen year" in Norway and other countries. This year the homebuilding company Selvaag also opened Peer Gynt Sculpture Park
Peer Gynt Sculpture Park
Peer Gynt Sculpture Park is a sculpture park located in Oslo, Norway. The sculpture park was created in honour of the man who is perhaps Norway’s most internationally known writer, Henrik Ibsen and is a monumental presentation of one of his most famous plays Peer Gynt, act by act.The park was...

 in Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

, Norway, in Henrik Ibsen's honour, making it possible to follow the dramatic play Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt is a five-act play in verse by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, loosely based on the fairy tale Per Gynt. It is the most widely performed Norwegian play. According to Klaus Van Den Berg, the "cinematic script blends poetry with social satire and realistic scenes with surreal ones"...

 scene by scene.

On 23 May 2006, The Ibsen Museum (Oslo)
The Ibsen Museum (Oslo)
The Ibsen Museum occupies the last home of the playwright Henrik Ibsen and is located close to the Royal Palace at Henrik Ibsens gate 26 in Oslo, Norway.-The Dramatist's last home in Kristiania 1895-1906:...

 reopened to the public the house where Ibsen had spent his last eleven years, completely restored with the original interior, colors, and decor.

Ancestry


The oldest documented Ibsen was ship's captain Rasmus Ibsen (1632–1703) from Stege, Denmark
Stege, Denmark
Stege is the largest town on the island of Møn in south-eastern Denmark. As of 2011, its population is 3,823. Stege is now part of Vordingborg Municipality and belongs to Region Zealand...

. His son, ship's captain Peder Ibsen became a burgher
Burgher
Burgher may refer to:* A citizen of a borough or town, especially one belonging to middle class* A resident of a burgh* A formally defined class in medieval German cities, usually the only group from which city officials could be drawn...

 of Bergen
Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

 in Norway in 1726. Henrik Ibsen has Danish, German, Norwegian and some distant Scottish ancestry. Most of his ancestors belonged to the merchant class of original Danish/German extraction, and many of his ancestors were ship's captains. His biographer Henrik Jæger
Henrik Jæger
Henrik Jæger was a Norwegian literary historian, literary critic and playwright.He was born in Bergen as a son of sailmaker Herman Jæger and Birgitte Pedersen. He was a nephew of Tycho Jæger...

 famously wrote in 1888 that Ibsen did not have a drop of Norse blood in his veins, stating that "the ancestral Ibsen was a Dane". This, however, is not completely accurate; notably through his grandmother Hedevig Paus, Ibsen was descended from one of the very few families of the patrician class of original Norwegian extraction, known since the 15th century. Ibsen's ancestors had mostly lived in Norway for several generations, even though many had foreign ancestry.

The name Ibsen is originally a patronymic
Patronymic
A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a personal name based on the name of one's father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor. A component of a name based on the name of one's mother or a female ancestor is a matronymic. Each is a means of conveying lineage.In many areas patronyms...

, meaning "son of Ib" (Ib is a Danish variant of Jacob
Jacob (name)
Jacob is a common male first name and a less well-known surname. Since 1999 and through 2010, Jacob has been the most popular baby name for newborn boys in United States. It is a cognate of James....

). The patronymic became "frozen", i.e. it became a permanent family name
Family name
A family name is a type of surname and part of a person's name indicating the family to which the person belongs. The use of family names is widespread in cultures around the world...

, already in the 17th century. The phenomenon of patronymics becoming frozen started in the 17th century in bourgeois families in Denmark, and the practice was only widely adopted in Norway from around 1900.


Descendants


From his marriage with Suzannah Thoresen
Suzannah Ibsen
Suzannah Ibsen was the wife of playwright and poet Henrik Ibsen.-Biography:Suzannah Daae Thoresen was born in Herøy, Møre og Romsdal, Norway. Her parents were Hans Conrad Thoresen and his second wife, Sara Margrethe Daae...

, Ibsen had one son, lawyer and government minister Sigurd Ibsen
Sigurd Ibsen
Sigurd Ibsen was a Norwegian author and politician. As the only child of Henrik Ibsen and his wife Suzannah Thoresen, he was born to high expectations and struggled all his life to meet these.Sigurd Ibsen was born in Oslo...

. Sigurd Ibsen married Bergljot Bjørnson, the daughter of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
Bjørnstjerne Martinius Bjørnson was a Norwegian writer and the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. Bjørnson is considered as one of The Four Greats Norwegian writers; the others being Henrik Ibsen, Jonas Lie, and Alexander Kielland...

. Their only child was Tancred Ibsen, who became a film director and who was married to Lillebil Ibsen
Lillebil Ibsen
Lillebil Ibsen was a Norwegian dancer and actress.-Personal life:She was born in Kristiania, as the daughter of engineer Georg Monrad Krohn and actress Gyda Martha Kristine Andersen...

. Their only child was diplomat Tancred Ibsen, Jr.
Tancred Ibsen, Jr.
Tancred Ibsen, Jr. is a Norwegian diplomat.He was born in Oslo as a son of Tancred Ibsen and Lillebil Ibsen. He is the great-grandson of both playwright Henrik Ibsen and Nobel Prize laureate Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. He holds the cand.oecon. and cand.jur. degrees of higher education...


Works



  • 1850 Catiline
    Catiline (play)
    Catiline or Catalina was Henrik Ibsen's first play. It was written during winter 1848-49 and first performed under Ibsen's name on December 3, 1881 at the Nya Teatern , Stockholm, Sweden...

    (Catilina)
  • 1850 The Burial Mound
    The Burial Mound
    The Burial Mound was Henrik Ibsen's second play and the first play to be performed. It is a three-act verse drama, written in 1850 when Ibsen was 22 years old. The play was first performed at the Christiania Theater on 26 September 1850, under Ibsen's pseudonym Brynjolf Bjarme....

    also known as The Warrior's Barrow (Kjæmpehøjen)
  • 1851 Norma (Norma)
  • 1852 St. John's Eve
    St. John's Eve (play)
    St. John's Eve, is a play written by Henrik Ibsen in 1853. The play is considered apocryphal, because it never entered Ibsen's collected works...

    (Sancthansnatten)
  • 1854 Lady Inger of Oestraat
    Lady Inger of Oestraat
    Lady Inger of Oestraat is a play by Henrik Ibsen, inspired by the life of Inger, Lady of Austraat. The play, the third work of the Norwegian's career, reflects the birth of Romantic Nationalism in the Norway of that period, and had a strongly anti-Danish sentiment...

    (Fru Inger til Østeraad)
  • 1855 The Feast at Solhaug
    The Feast at Solhaug
    The Feast at Solhaug is the first publicly successful drama by Henrik Ibsen. It was written in 1855 and had its premier at Det norske Theater in Bergen on January 2, 1856...

    (Gildet paa Solhaug)
  • 1856 Olaf Liljekrans (Olaf Liljekrans)
  • 1857 The Vikings at Helgeland
    The Vikings at Helgeland
    The Vikings at Helgeland is Henrik Ibsen's seventh play.The Vikings at Helgeland was written during 1857 and first performed at Christiania Norske Theater in Oslo on 24 November 1858. The scenes take place during the time of Erik Blood-axe in the north of Norway in historic Helgeland...

    (Hærmændene paa Helgeland)
  • 1862 Digte - only released collection of poetry, included "Terje Vigen
    Terje Vigen
    Terje Vigen is a poem written by Henrik Ibsen, published in 1862. Much of the story and setting is from the area around the town of Grimstad in southern Norway where Ibsen lived for a few years in his youth...

    ".
  • 1862 Love's Comedy
    Love's Comedy
    Love's Comedy is a comedy by Henrik Ibsen. It was first published on 31 December 1862. As a result of being branded an "immoral" work in the press, the Christiania Theatre would not dare to stage it at first...

    (Kjærlighedens Komedie)
  • 1863 The Pretenders
    The Pretenders (play)
    The Pretenders is a dramatic play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.-Play overview:The Pretenders was written in bursts during 1863, but Ibsen claims to have had sources and the idea back in 1858. A five-act play in prose set in the thirteenth-century. The play opened at the old Christiania...

    (Kongs-Emnerne)
  • 1866 Brand
    Brand (play)
    Brand is a play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It is a verse tragedy, written in 1865 and first performed in Stockholm on 24 March 1867. Brand was an intellectual play that provoked much original thought....

    (Brand)
  • 1867 Peer Gynt
    Peer Gynt
    Peer Gynt is a five-act play in verse by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, loosely based on the fairy tale Per Gynt. It is the most widely performed Norwegian play. According to Klaus Van Den Berg, the "cinematic script blends poetry with social satire and realistic scenes with surreal ones"...

    (Peer Gynt)

  • 1869 The League of Youth
    The League of Youth
    The League of Youth is a play by Henrik Ibsen finished in early May 1869. It was Ibsen's first play in colloquial prose and marks a turning point in his style towards realism and away from verse. It was widely considered Ibsen's most popular play in nineteenth-century Norway...

    (De unges Forbund)
  • 1873 Emperor and Galilean
    Emperor and Galilean
    Emperor and Galilean is a play written by Henrik Ibsen. Although it is one of the writer’s lesser known plays, on several occasions Henrik Ibsen called Emperor and Galilean his major work...

    (Kejser og Galilæer)
  • 1877 Pillars of Society (Samfundets Støtter)
  • 1879 A Doll's House
    A Doll's House
    A Doll's House is a three-act play in prose by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It premièred at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 21 December 1879, having been published earlier that month....

    (Et Dukkehjem)
  • 1881 Ghosts
    Ghosts (play)
    Ghosts is a play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It was written in 1881 and first staged in 1882.Like many of Ibsen's better-known plays, Ghosts is a scathing commentary on 19th century morality....

    (Gengangere)
  • 1882 An Enemy of the People
    An Enemy of the People
    An Enemy of the People is an 1882 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen wrote it in response to the public outcry against his play Ghosts, which at that time was considered scandalous...

    (En Folkefiende)
  • 1884 The Wild Duck
    The Wild Duck
    The Wild Duck is an 1884 play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.-Plot:The first act opens with a dinner party hosted by Håkon Werle, a wealthy merchant and industrialist. The gathering is attended by his son, Gregers Werle, who has just returned to his father's home following a self-imposed...

    (Vildanden)
  • 1886 Rosmersholm
    Rosmersholm
    Rosmersholm is a play written in 1886 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. In the estimation of many critics the piece is Ibsen's masterwork, only equalled by The Wild Duck of 1884...

    (Rosmersholm)
  • 1888 The Lady from the Sea
    The Lady from the Sea
    The Lady from the Sea is a play written in 1888 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.Kvinnan från havet is a ballet by choreographer Birgit Cullberg, and based on Ibsen's play...

    (Fruen fra Havet)
  • 1890 Hedda Gabler
    Hedda Gabler
    Hedda Gabler is a play first published in 1890 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play premiered in 1891 in Germany to negative reviews, but has subsequently gained recognition as a classic of realism, nineteenth century theatre, and world drama...

    (Hedda Gabler)
  • 1892 The Master Builder
    The Master Builder
    The Master Builder is a play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It was first published in December 1892 and is regarded as one of Ibsen's most significant and revealing works.-Performance:...

    (Bygmester Solness)
  • 1894 Little Eyolf
    Little Eyolf
    Little Eyolf is an 1894 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play was first performed on January 12, 1895 in the Deutsches Theater in Berlin.-Plot:...

    (Lille Eyolf)
  • 1896 John Gabriel Borkman
    John Gabriel Borkman
    John Gabriel Borkman is the penultimate composition of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, written in 1896.-Plot:The Borkman family fortunes have been brought low by the imprisonment of John Gabriel who used his position as a bank manager to illegally speculate with his investors' money...

    (John Gabriel Borkman)
  • 1899 When We Dead Awaken
    When We Dead Awaken
    When We Dead Awaken is the last play written by Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen. Published in December 1899, Ibsen wrote the play between February and November of that year. The first performance was at the Haymarket Theatre in London, a day or two before publication.-Plot summary:The first act...

    (Når vi døde vaagner)

See also


  • Problem play
    Problem play
    The problem play is a form of drama that emerged during the 19th century as part of the wider movement of realism in the arts. It deals with contentious social issues through debates between the characters on stage, who typically represent conflicting points of view within a realistic social...

  • Realism
  • Naturalism
    Naturalism (theatre)
    Naturalism is a movement in European drama and theatre that developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It refers to theatre that attempts to create a perfect illusion of reality through a range of dramatic and theatrical strategies: detailed, three-dimensional settings Naturalism is a...

  • Nineteenth-century theatre
  • Centre for Ibsen Studies
    Centre for Ibsen Studies
    The Centre for Ibsen Studies is a research centre of the University of Oslo, dedicated to research on the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen....

  • Ibsen Studies
    Ibsen Studies
    Ibsen Studies is a peer-reviewed academic journal covering research on the playwright Henrik Ibsen. It is published biannually by Routledge in cooperation with the Centre for Ibsen Studies...


Further reading

  • Boyesen, Hjalmar Hjorth
    Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen
    Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen was a Norwegian-American author and college professor.-Biography:He was born at the Norwegian naval base Fredriksvern, near the village of Stavern in Vestfold County, Norway. Boyesen grew up in Fredriksvern, then in Kongsberg, and, from 1854, at Systrand in Sogn...

     A Commentary on the Works of Henrik Ibsen (New York: Macmillan, 1894)
  • Koht, Halvdan
    Halvdan Koht
    Halvdan Koht was a Norwegian historian and politician representing the Labour Party.As a politician he served as the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1935 to 1941. He was never elected as a member of the Parliament of Norway, but was a member of Bærum municipal council in 1917–1919 and...

    . The Life of Ibsen translated by Ruth Lima McMahon and Hanna Astrup Larsen. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, 1931.
  • Lucas, F. L.
    F. L. Lucas
    Frank Laurence Lucas was an English classical scholar, literary critic, poet, novelist, playwright, political polemicist, and Fellow of King's College, Cambridge....

     The Drama of Ibsen and Strindberg, Cassell, London, 1962. A useful introduction, giving the biographical background to each play and detailed play-by-play summaries and discussion for the theatre-goer (including the less well-known plays).
  • Ferguson, Robert. Henrik Ibsen: A New Biography. Richard Cohen Books, London, 1996.
  • Meyer, Michael
    Michael Meyer
    Michael Leverson Meyer was an English translator, biographer, journalist and dramatist.-Life:Meyer was born in London into a timber merchant family of Jewish origin, and studied English at Christ Church College, Oxford. His first translation of a Swedish book was the novel The Long Ships by Frans...

    . Ibsen. History Press Ltd., Stroud, 2004.
  • Moi, Toril
    Toril Moi
    Toril Moi is James B. Duke Professor of Literature and Romance Studies at Duke University. Previously she held positions as a lecturer in French at the University of Oxford and as Director of the Center for Feminist Research at the University of Bergen, Norway...

    . 2006. Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism: Art, Theater, Philosophy. Oxford and New York: Oxford UP. ISBN 9780199202591.
  • Haugan, Jørgen
    Jørgen Haugan
    Jørgen Haugan is a Norwegian author and lecturer. He was written a number of books, principally biographies of noted Scandinavian writers....

    . Henrik Ibsens Metode:Den Indre Utvikling Gjennem Ibsens Dramatikk ( Norwegian: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag. 1977)
  • Shaw, George Bernard
    George Bernard Shaw
    George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60...

    . The Quintessence of Ibsenism (1891). The classic introduction, setting the playwright in his time and place.

English translations

  • Ibsen: The Complete Major Prose Plays (Rolf G. Fjelde
    Rolf G. Fjelde
    Rolf G. Fjelde was an American playwright, educator and poet. Fjelde was the founding president of the Ibsen Society of America which is dedicated to the works of Henrik Ibsen.-Background:...

    , translator. Plume: 1978)
  • Ibsen - 3 Plays (Kenneth McLeish & Stephen Mulrine, translators. Nick Hern Books
    Nick Hern Books
    Nick Hern Books is a London-based independent specialist publisher of plays, theatre books and screenplays. The company was founded by the former Methuen drama editor Nick Hern in 1988.-History:...

    : 2005)

External links