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In-depth articles

150 Years with Comic Love

It was not as a comic playwright that Ibsen moved borders. In 1852 he wrote the "fairy-tale comedy" St. Johnís Night, ten years later, Loveís Comedy, in 1869 the high comedy The League of Youth. None of these plays have achieved a legendary status. The League of Youth does get some attention because it forms a kind of prelude to the famous series of the so-called Ďrealisticí contemporary plays from Ibsenís pen. Less focus is given to Loveís Comedy, undeserved because it does form the introduction to another, no less illustrious series of Ibsenís authorship, his Ďdrama of ideasí (Loveís Comedy, Brand, Peer Gynt, and Emperor and Galilean). 2012 marks the 150th anniversary of Ibsenís bitter-sweet comedy about Falk and Svanhild.

Title page of the first edition of Loveís Comedy

Christer Collin, BjŲrnson and Ibsen. A Comparative Sketch

Christer Collin, "BjŲrnson and Ibsen. A Comparative Sketch", facsimiled from Ethical World. An Organ of Democracy in Religion, Education, Art, Industry and Politics, London, Vol. III, No. 9 (3 March 1900), No. 12 (24 March 1900) and No. 13 (31 March 1900).

Grieg and Ibsen

Edvard Grieg, 1880. Photo: E. Bieber
At year-end the Ibsen Year 2006 baton was passed on to Grieg Year 2007. The one deceased genius is hereby commemorated after the other. In the case of Grieg and Ibsen however, the transition is more finely tuned than one might imagine. The connections between the two great minds are numerous and deep. Peer Gynt has immortalised them both and this work lives now literally a worldwide existence as a "three-headed troll": as the orchestral suites (op. 46 and 55), as the stage version with the music of Edvard Grieg and as the stage version without Griegīs music. But Peer Gynt was not the only work by Ibsen that Grieg put to music.

Henrik Ibsen's dramatic vision

In the course of the second half of the 19th century dramatic art underwent profound and radical changes. What was Ibsen's position and standpoint in these processes of change? What, according to Ibsen, was it necessary for the theatres to do in order to face the challenges of modern drama? In this article, the theatre researcher Thoralf Berg takes up these questions.

Henry James: Henrik Ibsen

The American author Henry James (1843-1916) was one of many prominent intellectuals who at the beginning of the 1890s, when Ibsen had his major breakthrough in the Anglo-Saxon part of the world, was fascinated by and engaged in Ibsen. James spent most of his life in England and attended the English premiŤres of both Hedda Gabler (at Vaudeville Theatre in London in April 1891) and The Master Builder (at Trafalgar Square Theatre in London in February 1893). These two productions are the point of departure for the twofold essay underneath.

Hu Shi: Ibsenism

Ibsenism is Chinese philosopher and diplomat Hu Shiís essay on Ibsen from 1918. Shi was a key contributor to Chinese liberalism and is forever connected to the language reform, by introducing the spoken language íbaihuaí in Chinese literature.
Ibsenism on is published as in Elisabeth Eideís Doctoral Dissertation Chinaís Ibsen: From Ibsen to Ibsenism (1986), translated from Chinese by Eide, as it appeared in the revolutionary magazine Xin Qing Nian (New Youth) vol. 4, no. 6, June 1918.

Ibsen and Munch

Ibsen's literary production was one of the most central sources of inspiration for Edvard Munch's art. In this essay Lars Roar Langslet closely examines the connections between these two great pillars of Norwegian art. The text is based on a lecture given at the Rome conference "Ibsen and the Arts: Painting - Sculpture - Architecture" in October 2001.

Ibsen and Realism

The four dramas Ibsen published in the years 1877-82, Pillars of Society, A Doll`s House, Ghosts and An Enemy of the People are characterised as realistic contemporary dramas or problem dramas.

Ibsen in Translation

To become a world dramatist takes time, at least if Norwegian happens to be your mother tongue. When Ibsen made his debut in 1850, Norwegian was a language spoken by scarcely 1.4 million people. Publishing houses didn’t exist, there were only a few theatres, and there Danish reigned. 40 years later, Ibsen made a name for himself on the world market. Today he is translated to 78 languages. How did the small, weird Norwegian, who for most of his career had to be his own literary agent, manage to conquer so many markets?

Solstad and Ibsen

Graphics: Tank Design

During an international Ibsen seminar in Beijing in May 1995 Dag Solstad enters the podium and claimed that Ibsen hasn’t "had any great significance for me". If he should mention twenty authors whom he especially appreciates, he would probably "have forgotten to mention him" (Solstad 1995b, 437f). When Solstad now turns 70 and we take the opportunity to examine Ibsen references in his collected authorship, we become somewhat puzzled. Among Norwegian contemporary authors, there are, in fact, no one who has entered into such an intimate dialogue with Ibsen as our birthday boy.

The British battle over Hedda Gabler

Ibsen is not simply a matter of dramatic literature, but also of money, law, contracts, publishers taking stands and more or less competent translators. Tore Rem has written an article about the spicy literary controversy surrounding the publication of Hedda Gabler in England in 1891.