Ibsen Society of America

Annotated Ibsen Bibliography, 1983-2000, from Ibsen News and Comment

Articles on Ibsen >> | 1983-1988 | 1989-1991 | 1992-1994 | 1995-1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000| 2001 | 2002-2004
Go To >> | 1990 | 1991 |

 

ARTICLES ON IBSEN, 1989

Several important articles on Ibsen appeared in 1989. Exigencies of space being what they are, my review can mention only briefly other articles worthy of notice. Still others (of a total of thirty-some publications during the year) won’t be mentioned at all. My selections are diverse; no single method or topic or ideology dominates current Ibsen studies.

First, three pairings among the brief mentions. In June 1988 (a year before Tiananmen Square), Rolf Fjelde (1), speaking to the Shanghai Cultural Bureau, contrasted O’Neill’s tragedies of fate (Iceman, Long Day’s Journey, Hughie, and A Moon for the Misbegotten) with Ibsen’s last four tragedies of “failed choice.” Burgard (2) thinks Miller’s Death of a Salesman has been given too much credit for being innovative and modernistic and uses A Doll House and Ghosts to make his case. And too much, says Jørgen Mejer (3), has been made of the affinity between Euripides and Ibsen. Wilamowitz was right: “To find in Euripides an ancient Ibsen is more than [a mistake], it is simply silly.”

Next, articles on a single motif or theme. Otten (4) takes Ibsen’s use of the Kindermord motif as evidence that he left incomplete the conversion of old religious myth into new secular science. The need for the argument would have seemed more urgent if Ibsen were commonly thought of as an atheist-materialist. With so many doors functioning dramatically in A Doll House (the stage directions specify eight, of which two remain unseen by the audience), Dukore (5) hears in Nora’s slammed-door exit proof that she has reached a new level of mature resolve. “. . . a theatrical exclamation point, an audible chord, . . . completes the drama thematically and theatrically.” In Abbott’s The Vital Lie (6), Ernest Becker’s The Denial of Death serves as a paradigm for dealing with the reality-illusion theme in modern drama. Heroes attempt “to stare down death” by escaping from an unreal world of joyless duties to an absent god into an illusionary world of viable counter-reality. Their enterprise is doomed, but the plays “celebrate their failures.” Abbott attenuates an already tenuous case by progressively distorting the meaning of “the vital lie” (livsløgnen) in The Wild Duck. And it won’t do to say that the words for “wild duck” and “spirit” in Norwegian are “almost identical” and to attribute such ignorance to Rolf Fjelde.

Three of the six essays (Hemmer’s, Saari’s, Alonge’s) in the sixth volume of Contemporary Approaches to Ibsen bear upon the Italian setting of the international Ibsen conference at which the papers were read. Hemmer (7) sees Ibsen’s experience of Italy as equal in importance to Goethe’s. It provided him with “the aesthetics of distance,” liberated his will, and brought to his consciousness a new kind of innocent sensualism. Saar (8) itemizes and interprets the differences between the two versions of A Doll House and thinks Italy had something to do with Nora and Torvald sharing the same human nature in the final version, she now stronger and he weaker than in the draft. Alnæs (9) reads The Master Builder as a folklore-based allegory on the artist’s “eternal dilemma”: finding a “higher meaning” in our lowly earth life. The ambiguous Hilde’s last words assert the consummation of Solness’ mission on earth and permit us to call the ending happy. Ystad (10) discovers in some of Ibsen’s tragedies Kierkegaard’s notion (in On the Concept of Irony) that tragic irony is time-determined. Examples are Skule trying to reach new political ends by old warlike means and the destruction of Mrs. Alving’s hopes for the future by her son’s heritage from the past. Except for Alonge’s fantastic argument (11) that Ibsen was a “ferocious” sexist, all the essays in this volume have value (even Alonge’s may be found amusing), and one of them (Ewbank’s, below) is important.

In Gail Finney’s Freudian-feminist book (12), Hedda Gabler figures as “the personification of the hysterization of the female body, or the reduction of the woman to her status as female, and it is this process that brings about her downfall.” The forbidding promise of that unlovely sentence is fulfilled in an accurate analysis: Hedda does not, like the conventional nineteenth-century heroine, kill herself for love; her suicide is “the result of triple hysterization: her simultaneous entrapment in impending maternity, in feminine propriety, and in her role as an object of sexual blackmail.”

Joan Templeton’s essay (13) on A Doll House is at least as strongly feminist as Finney’s, more polemical, and better written. She has no patience with critics who dilute Ibsen’s feminism by universalizing Nora’s plight into that of “a human being” and do so on the grounds that Ibsen “did not stoop to ‘issues”’ but “was a poet of the truth of the human soul.” (The title of Saari’s essay might bemuse Templeton.) “Whatever is universal,” she says, “is male.” Yet she cites with approval James Huneker’s “succinct analysis of DH as “the plea for woman as a human being, neither more nor less than man. . . .” And she demolishes the old argument that DH cannot be feminist because the heroine is not perfect by opposing to the “saintly Every feminist” stereotype her own “ignorant, excitable, confused, and desperate-in short, human-Nora Helmer.” And this Nora is not hers alone. Others—yes, some men too—see Nora’s ignorance, excitability, confusion, and desperation as the result of male molding. Which is to say that Ibsen’s “modern tragedy” is about a feminist issue. It is not to say that “issues” sully art or that sex and gender cannot be admitted to a play raised above feminism to “universal” significance. I think Templeton’s reading of DH is excellent; I wish she had been equally true to what others have said about the play.

Inga-Stina Ewbank (14) argues the virtual impossibility of translating Ibsen’s Norwegian into another language. The translator’s solution is not to be looked for at any particular point on a line between faithful literalness and free, “poetic” paraphrase, but in a way of turning Ibsen’s Norwegian into a language capable of incorporating (in Walter Benjamin’s words) “the original’s mode of significance.” As in earlier essays on Ibsen’s language, Ewbank contrasts the “hardness” of Norwegian semantics and its bent toward compounds (“hjertekulde,” “lysrtræd”) with the finely gradated and adaptable nuances of meaning in English; and Norwegian’s “vertical,” “male” imagery for the heights and depths of individual enterprise with the “horizontal,” “female” imagery for social relationships in English. The paradox of Ibsen’s language is that his intense monolingualism became the “rooted medium” for “rootless” but universal characters. “. . . the international greatness of Ibsen” lies “in the way he makes his national Norwegian such a recognizable fragment of [what Walter Benjamin calls the] ‘greater language’ of human experience.” Ewbank almost overcomes the ineffability of her topic. That is meant as praise. In her other 1989 Ibsen essay, on his “Dramatic Art” (15), there is more about the “hard,” “small,” “unyielding” vocabularies of the Scandinavian languages, “vertical” and “horizontal” imagery, fusion of landscape and metaphor, and Ibsen’s “single-mindedness” against what he called the “lax” and “limp” (Norw. “slap”) quality in English culture. But there is overlap rather than repetition in the two essays. One deals with the universality within, the other with the human cost of, the spareness.

With Templeton’s and Ewbank’s essays, I have moved on to 1989’s “important” articles. Of the remaining items in that group I begin with two on Ibsen’s dramaturgy.

In “Ibsen’s Beginnings” (16) Van Laan describes a pattern in Ibsen’s plays I have not seen treated anywhere else. In the opening scenes of play after play, Ibsen disappoints our expectations of what the main design (or, in E. D. Hirsch’s term, “intrinsic genre”) of the play is going to be. The classical model is King Oedipus, which begins as a play about ending the plague, goes on to deal with the search for Laius’ murderer, and finally turns into Oedipus’ quest for his own identity. Hedda Gabler is Van Laan’s major instance in Ibsen. It begins as what looks like a “Newlywed Problem Comedy” (financial and professional worries), changes during Act II to the “cynical French drama about adultery,” only to have that, too, turn into just another “interim intrinsic genre.” The main action, Hedda’s yearning to regain power over a man who can realize her vision of a life in freedom, courage, and beauty, doesn’t emerge till the end of Act II. All the later plays except An Enemy of the People follow this pattern, though the “misrepresenting” goes on longer in DH, G, WD, Ros, LE, and JGB (and the early Lady I. and Vik.) than in LC, LY, PS, US, MB, and WWDA. The strategic value of this “oblique beginning” is that it keeps us from setting up “cerebral barriers” between ourselves and the play and allows us gradually to realize that the “pseudo-action,” with all its antecedents,” is an essential part of the play’s “central business.” The essay’s cunning is in turning what a strict Aristotelian would construe as an artistic liability—false leads, dispersive plot lines—into an asset. For Ibsen didn’t subvert the Aristotelian beginning-middle-end structure; he made it less simple, rigid, and intrusive. His mind was “post-Kantian.”

Lyons (17) sees the character-in-scenic-space as an irreducible and unbreakable entity in all drama—a perception not available to ideological approaches. His illustrations, ranging from Richard II to Beckett’s Rockaby, include the Ice Church in Brand, which is a “conceptual structure,” not the visual representation of a metaphor but rather a visualization of the space that allows the character to use his perception of the scene metaphorically in order to conceptualize antithetical visions of experience (here, religious commitment and social compromise). Topography has become “indivisible from the representation of character” and “holds a functional, transitive value.” This is heavy going. I take it to mean that as audience we respond simultaneously to the stage spectacle, to the character’s perception of him/herself as sited in the spectacle, and to our own perception of what the character’s investing the physical setting with “subjective significance” means in our total experience of the play. Despite the ponderousness, Lyons gets at basic matters.

The socio-psychology of Brand is the subject of two articles. Kühnhold (writing in German) (18) thinks Harald Beyer and Valborg Erichsen (Edda, 19,20 [1923]) misunderstood the Kierkegaardian elements in the play. Brand is a totalitarian personality, whose speech, both in substance and in the unyielding finality of its trochaic rhythms, disallows discussion, whose need for power and drive toward ideality in a human vacuum are alien to Kierkegaard’s belief that our primary duty is to further self-realization in others, and whose “all or nothing” is a “materialistic-quantitative” version of Kierkegaard’s “spiritual-qualitative” dialectic of either/or. The true Kierkegaardian among Ibsen’s heroes is Dr. Stockmann: plainspoken, morally and intellectually passionate, unworldly, enemy of compromise [so is Brand], prone to excess. There is more to Brand—more ambivalence, for one thing—than Kühnhold sees. Her criteria for judging him suggest sentimental indignation. Nevertheless, her essay is a useful modification of a view on the Kierkegaard-Ibsen relationship that for too long has gone unreexamined.

Sohlich’s massive article (19) on “the fatherless society” in Brand claims affinity with the Frankfurt school’s analyses of “the institutions and cultures of liberal and late capitalist societies.” The approach neither “relegates the past to poststructuralist oblivion” nor recreates it nostalgically as a golden age but juxtaposes past and present for current meaning. The dramatic scenario in Sohlich’s interpretation is, briefly, that Brand’s weak father failed to mediate between his family and the market society and therefore failed in his prescribed roles as provider, esteemed public citizen, and domestic authority. Both Brand’s young, strong, and demanding God and Einar’s slippered grandpa of a god become part of Brand’s image of an ideal social order. On the one hand, he longs “to reinscribe a centrifugally dispersed community into the living text of a heroic tradition”-on the other, he longs for “the paternal and maternal moments of an idealized bourgeois family,” in which a comfortable “household god. . . is the icon of powerless fathers.” The duality breaks the play apart. Brand’s “all or nothing” calls for a “pathological narrowing of personality,” a reduction of the self “to a single quality” rooted in the “inwardness” that Agnes teaches Brand to seek but which is “dramatically inconsistent with the destruction of the family by the market forces which the text signifies but does not thematize. The critique of the family remains prisoner of the discourse of interiority.” And so, Brand fails in his attempt to compensate for the fatherlessness by reenacting the role of Old Testament patriarch in Acts III and IV; the nuclear family has already surrendered to market and bureaucracy. His failure is underscored by the wise, commonsensical, and sympathetic Doctor sharing with the contemptible, opportunistic Mayor a commitment to what both call “humane-ness.” Sohlich’s essay is lumpy with leftist sociological jargon, and I am not sure that it does not profoundly misread the play. But it establishes a complex and cogent interpretive scheme that proves not that Brand is a radical critique of nineteenth-century bourgeois institutions and values (Sohlich concludes that the play seems unaware of its ideological subtext) but that it can serve the modern reader as a text on which to base such a critique. If we are to have this kind of Ibsen criticism at all-and I suppose we must-then Sohlich’s is something of a model.

 

(1) Rolf Fjelde, “Eugene O’Neill and Henrik Ibsen: Struggle, Fate, Freedom,” Theater 3 5 (1988), 67-74.

(2) Peter J. Burgard, “Two Parts Ibsen, One Part American Dream: On Derivation and Originality in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman,” Orbis Litterarum 43:iv (1988), 336-53.

(3) Jørgen Mejer, “Henrik Ibsen and the Revival of Euripides,” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 27 (2986), 399-407.

(4) Terry Otten, “Ibsen’s Paradoxical Attitudes toward Kindermord,” Mosaic 22:iii (Summer 1989), 117-31.

(5) Bernard F. Dukore, “Doors in the Doll House,” Theater History Studies 9 (1989), 39-40.

(6) Anthony S. Abbott, The Vital Lie (Tuscaloosa: Alabama University Press, 1989).

(7) Bjørn Hemmer, “Italy in Ibsen’s Art,” Contemporary Approaches to Ibsen VI, ed. Bjørn Hemmer and Vigdis Ystad (Oslo: Norwegian University Presses, 1988), 9-26.

(8) Sandra Saari, “Female Become Human: Nora Transformed,” Contemporary Approaches [see # 7], 41-55.

(9) Nina S. Alnæs, “The Master Builder: The Myth of the Artist between Heaven and Hell,” Contemporary Approaches [see # 7], 81-91.

(10) Vigdis Ystad, “Tragedy in Ibsen’s Art,” Contemporary Approaches [see # 7], 69-80.

(11) Roberto Alonge, “Protestant Severity Versus Mediterranean Dissipation in Ibsen’s Theater,” Contemporary Approaches [see # 7], 27-39.

(12) Gail Finney, “Maternity and Hysteria: Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler,” Women in Modern Drama (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989), pp. 149-65.

(13) Joan Templeton, “The Doll House Backlash: Criticism, Feminism, and Ibsen,” PMLA 104:1 (1989), 28-40.

(14) Inga-Stina Ewbank, “Henrik Ibsen: National Language and International Drama,” Contemporary Approaches [see # 7], 57-67.

(15) Inga-Stina Ewbank, “The Dramatic Art of Henrik Ibsen,” World and I 4:4 (1989), 529-45.

(16) Thomas F. Van Laan, “Ibsen’s Beginnings,” Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 3:2 (1989), 19-36.

(17) Charles Lyons, “Character and Theatrical Space,” in The Theatrical Space, ed. James Redmond (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 17-44.

(18) Christa Kühnhold, “Ibsen und Kierkegaard,” Orbis Litterarum 43:4 (1988), 316.

(19) Wolfgang Sohlich, “Ibsen’s Brand: Drama of the Fatherless Society,” Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 3:2 (1989), 87-105.

Otto Reinert
The University of Washington

 

ARTICLES ON IBSEN, 1990


In a long view, good Ibsen criticism provides a record of the different readings the plays can legitimately yield. Recent studies keep adding to that record, but their collective pluralism shows up in few individual studies. Rather, their manner of disagreement suggests that “right” and “wrong” are once again respectable notions in a post-deconstructionist age. But then again, theory may have nothing to do with it. Ibsen criticism has never been remarkable either for tolerance of deviant opinion or for new and incisive concepts. Most 1990 items were variants of close readings, with some of new criticism’s proneness to proclaim the truth about the work. Feminist issues dominated essays on ideology.

First, three articles which, though focusing on particular plays, raise larger issues. Ross Shideler finds evidence in DH and HG of the breakdown of male authority after Darwin killed God (1). Ibsen’s Darwinism is about heredity and environment; Strindberg’s about the survival of the fittest. That Darwin virtually alone undermined the patriarchy is a premise that needs closer scrutiny and ampler documentation than Shideler gives it.

Katharine Worth modifies the common impression that the Abbey Theatre group was hostile to Ibsen’s psychological realism (2). Yeats, Synge, Edward Martyn, Lennox Robinson, and the acting style of the Fay brothers all have affinities with Ibsen. The surprising name here, of course, is Yeats. But when The Only Jealousy of Emer (1919) is put next to L f S, we discover that “the territory they were exploring is curiously similar.” Ibsen may “have helped to shape an Irish drama able to combine realism with more surreal or mystical elements; the options were remarkably open.” There is more to Ibsen’s influence on Irish drama than Joyce’s Exiles (the relation of which to Brand and WWDA Lilla Crisafulli [3] deals with in a short article of less scope than Worth’s).

Elm Diamond’s theory about stage realism as “a form of hysteria”-reality self-generated—is original and exciting and strains the reviewer’s ability to condense and distil (4). Her main exhibit is HG, but she touches as well on DH, Ghosts, Ros., and LE and deals in her final section with the actress Elizabeth Robins’ co-authored play, Alan's Wife (a London flop in 1893). As the hysteric converts neurosis into sensory and motoric behavior that has no physiological cause, so does the realist playwright convert imagery into actual people moving and speaking before an audience. What Charcot and Breuer and Freud were doing in clinics and consulting rooms in the 1880s and ‘90s, Ibsen was doing on stage: exposing and exploring hysterical women with a past: “[By] endowing the fallen woman . . . with the symptoms and etiology of the hysteric,” his “theater of discovery” sanctioned the clichés of Victorian melodrama and popular psychology. The woman who after seeing HG said, “laughing,” “Hedda is all of us,” was so much under the spell of the realistic staging that she assumed a real relation between signifier-signified-referent (the actress playing Hedda-Hedda the character—her real-life model), her narcissism deconstructing “the mimetic referent.” The identification was all the more complete because the play queries the social reality it shows. Woman’s “undecidability” about her identity is theatricalized in Hedda’s last appearance as a head poked through a closed curtain. The spectacle re-enforces the spectator’s pleasure as spectator. Hedda’s “inflated narcissism” is transferred to audiences who experience alternatives and ambiguities in their own lives. So they “defer” knowledge of that which, as spectators, as Lacan says, they are “presumed to know.” Diamond’s question at the end of her first section is as disturbing as it is large: “Can feminist theory make use of the observation that realism, at its inception, might be construed as a form of an incitement to hysteria?” I cannot finally decide whether she praises Ibsen’s subtle strategy or censures his sexist ideology. (But she should have told us that two of the three references to a hysteric woman in Ibsen’s preliminary notes for the play—of which she makes important use—are to Thea Elvsted, and that her three “ideas” in the play are not Ibsen’s own “main points” [Hoved-punkter] in the notes.)

Authors of more conventional studies are also sometimes careless (or willful?) Ibsen readers. Something can be said for Marilyn Johns Blackwell’s argument that Solvejg is an ambivalent character in Peer Gynt’s existential drama (5). Solvejg seeks the heights, but the imagery of the play associates heights/ascent with fantasy, license, and escape from reality, and depths/descent/ with responsibility, self-knowledge, and community (however flawed and unattractive). Solvejg’s urging Peer to “sleep and dream” at the end proves that he is still living his fantasy life when he sees her as his redeemer. And so, PG is a “romantic fantasy” that adumbrates DH and HG. “The consistent inversion of the feminine redemptive . . . culminates in an understanding that women partake of reality, of the same quotidian existence as man, and that the masculine idealization of women is a displacement . . . a refusal to accept the . . . responsibilities of self-realization.” But Blackwell unnecessarily weakens her reading by two major forcings of the text. Nothing suggests that Peer’s movement from Aase’s farm to Haegstad in Act I is a physical descent “down in [to] the valley at Haegstad,” and nothing supports her quaint belief that the play’s last scene takes place where Peer pauses on his way to Ingrid’s wedding. Ibsen, she says, “implicitly” brought “Solvejg’s cabin down from the mountains and the heights of fantasy and escape, violating the laws of space,” in order to connect her to “the forces Peer has fled all his life.” But the unspecified stage directions for the sequence of Peer’s encounters at the end of Act V—with Solvejg’s hut, with the ghostly reporters, with the Button Molder (thrice), with the Mountain King, with the Thin Person, and with Solvejg—can only mean that the whole sequence Moves around on the same wooded upland slope—below the mountain heights but above the valley settlements, near but only twice at, Solvejg’s hut.

The conclusion to Knut Brynhildsvoll’s essay (in German) on romantic irony in PG (6) is relevant to Blackwell’s. PG, he says, ends in a kind of parthenogenesis, a virgin birth, that fulfills Kierkegaard’s demand that Thought and Subjectivity can attain completeness, (Fülle) and truth only by letting themselves “be born” and “sink down into the depth of substantial life.” Peer’s final return to Solvejg marks the end of the mock-jolly, Mephistophilean self-irony that Kierkegaard calls romantic. In that change Brynhildsvoll sees the possibility of the redemption of the non-heroic but now finally non-romantic Peer. (Brynhildsvoll, incidentally, in forty pages says more of interest about Kierkegaard and irony in PG than Bruce Shapiro does in two hundred pages in his book about PG and Kierkegaard (7). Brynhildsvoll does not appear in Shapiro’s bibliography.)

L of Y has never received much critical attention, so one is grateful for Robin Young’s intelligent discussion of Ibsen’s balanced ambivalence in a play too often considered a little simpleminded (8). The ambivalence mirrored Ibsen’s own divided loyalties. Contemporaries, both Left and Right, misread the play. It satirizes Steensgaard as a vulgar sham but not altogether the democratic ideals he professes or his entrepreneurial energy. It has the Bratsbergs represent tradition and refined manners but also economic vulnerability and ruthlessness. It is a play about old nobility compromised by new materialism, about a society in flux, about the relative nature of social and economic and moral values. It is that, all right.

Next, two articles on the motherhood theme in two social problem plays. Like Hans Helmut Hiebel a few years ago (see
INC 10 [1989] 23), William Solheim counters Peter Szondi’s point that Ibsen at heart was an epicist (9). Most of the dialogue in Act I of Ghosts is diegetic (interiorized, about “told” time), but it does more than just conjure up the past (Szondi’s allegation); “it occasionally comments upon the past, undercutting Mrs Alving’s interpretation of personal history in a way that grants her a flash of intuitive insight.” Such moments are rare with her; her “essential flaw . . [is that] her actions are not spontaneous or impetuous” but rationalizations divorced from her feelings. But it is precisely the light of those insights that Mrs. Alving fears. For she, too, is “lysræd” (literally, “afraid of the light,” but rightly glossed by Solbeim as connoting as well “cowardly” and “underhanded”). She is so when she tries to replace the demolished image of the paragon father with the refurbished one of the self-sacrificing mother. That illusion vanishes in the light of the rising sun and with it “duty, family, motherhood—indeed, her entire personal history.” The ineffability of what she now sees—a new and ironic “sammenheng”—renders her inarticulate. The ending, therefore, is not classical tragedy truncated, as Fergusson averred, but “inconclusive” and thus “modern,” throwing “the burden of confronting the unbearable not on society but on the individual.” There is substance in Solheim’s argument, though it sometimes skirts narrow fussiness about tenuous matters. But he exaggerates John Northam’s reservations about Mrs. Alving (in Ibsen: A Critical Study, 1973). Northam, he says, sees her as a “hopeless, devious, cowardly worm” (sic!), (Solheim’s subsequent qualification doesn’t help; it only makes him sound inconsistent.) And he is on shaky ground when he takes the last lines of “On the Mountain Heights” (Paa vidderne”) to be Ibsen’s own-rather than the esthete-narrator’s-endorsement of something like “light at whatever cost.”

Nora Helmer’s similarly suspect motherhood is Lilian R. Furst’s topic (10). What contemporary critics found hardest to take in DH was Nora’s desertion of her children. Women critics (Lou Andreas-Salomé, Ella Ketschner, Fredericke Boettcher) and actresses (Robins, Janet Achurch) were more understanding. The difference is important, for the play is as much about ambivalent motherhood as about a bad marriage. “. . . Nora’s separation from her children is not the expression of an egoistic urge to self-fulfillment; on the contrary, it is the outcome of a tormenting spiritual self-assessment which leads her to the—perhaps mistaken—conclusion that she must sacrifice her motherhood to the moral welfare of the children.” It’s a good point, but Furst might have made more of the tragic irony.

Two other articles on DH are not strictly speaking critical. Bernard Dukore merits thanks for resurrecting Eleanor Marx-Aveling’s and Israel Zangwill’s parody of the end of Act III, which appeared in the hard-to-find socialist monthly Time (London) in March 1891 (11). Entitled “A Doll’s House Repaired,” it altered Ibsen’s ending to conform with the marital morality of the play’s English critics. Torvald pays off Krogstad while Nora eavesdrops, his and her speeches in the final scene are consistently reversed (Nora: “I have repented, Torvald; I swear to you, I have repented”), and it is he who insists on separating, handing her the key to the spare bedroom. It all sounds as funny as Dukore tells us it is.

Beverly Elliott’s discussion of three productions of DH—Ethel Barrymore’s in 1905, Jed Harris’ (with Ruth Gordon) in 1937, and Travis Preston’s (at the American Ibsen Theatre in Pittsburgh in 1983—is both a piece of stage history and transfeminist criticism (12). Male critics disapproved of or were baffled by the early productions. Was the play subversive? Dated? If so, was updating proper? Was it a comedy? A tragedy? But most of Elliott’s article is enthusiastic endorsement of Preston’s “iconographic representation . . . entirely outside of time” of the collapse of the conventional values and institutions of Western civilization. His staged discontinuities of stylized symbolizations reproduced the shock of the original. But the production’s disquieting power also had something to do with the way Preston turned DH into an ungendered play of “profound philosophical stances on identity, self and individuality,” “profoundly metaphysical and revolutionary.” This makes sense (in a global sort of way), but I would be more receptive to it had Elliott’s rhetoric been less clamorous.

Polemics against largely non-existent opponents mars Malcolm Pitlock’s thorough rereading of WD (13). Not only does his effort to rehabilitate Gregers Werle sometimes end in inanity (“The play does not have a nice digestible moral: Gregers is not the foolish meddler of the conventional account; he is a tragic figure, for he alone in the play has the desire to do right—and that is never contemptible”); the whole premise for his article is flawed. He assumes that anyone who thinks that Relling’s view of Hjalmar’s character is more accurate than Gregers’ is committed to seeing the doctor as Ibsen’s raisonneur and to taking what he says about the life lie to be the play’s ultimate wisdom. Pitlock is at his best when he notices how Gregers, in his quest for an agent who can redeem his guilt for his father’s misdeeds, moves through three generations of Ekdals. But why does he twice refer to Werle’s first-act dinner party as a “luncheon”?

Elinor Fuchs in a major essay (14) de-problematizes the old perception that there is incongruity in LfS between allegory and realism, philosophy and psychology. Brian Johnston’s analysis is “brilliant and deeply engaged,” but it creates a “supertext,” in which the women characters are “invisible as autonomous individuals.” Fuchs’s countering “subtext” deals with ironies and social particulars. It is non-logocentric, non-phallocentric, “makes no ontological claims,” and “asserts no inalienable first principles.” The play doesn’t just set “sign against sign”; it sets “sign system against sign system, advancing an ironic, mutually relativising bifocal vision of human culture.” It ends neither happily nor tragically. Our atavistic longing for the open sea is not canceled by Ellida’s choice of the safety of comfortable Bürgerlichkeit, but her choice does mark a successful act of necessary “acclimatization.” Fuchs’s enlistment of Ibsen’s ambivalence in the service of feminism is both effective and elegant.

Arnold Weinstein’s “Metamorphosis in Little Eyolf" (15) is accurately titled: it is about characters in process, “rainbow personalities,” under the power of primal fears and disgusts—like figures in Munch’s paintings or like Kafka’s Gregor Samsa, transformed in bed by uneasy dreams. Animal imagery expresses transformation: the child as rat. Or young siren becomes ancient crone. When Rita Allmers is about to start mothering the beach urchins, her dead child’s evil eye is “transformed from private consciousness to public vision,” and sacrifice turns into redemption. Weinstein disconcerts the reader a bit by alternating between analysis and encomiastics, but he writes well and reads Ibsen well.

The “charnel house” in James Fisher’s title was Eleonora Duse’s term for the contemporary commercial theater, from which she sought escape in Gordon Craig’s design for Rosmersholm, at the Teatro della Pergola production in Florence in December 1906 (16). Fisher’s article is of more biographical than scenographic interest but does include Craig’s epigram, “Realism is only Exposure where Art is Revelation.” (Unfortunately, a few sentences later Fisher writes that Craig didn’t think “a photographic image of contemporary life would adequately expose [my emphasis] Ibsen’s themes and characters.”)

1990 was a good year for brief Ibsen studies-better, in fact, than other recent years of greater output.

Otto Reinert
University of Washington

 

(1) Ross Shideler, “The Absent Authority: From Darwin to Nora and Julie,” in Proceedings of the XII Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association, eds. Roger Bauer, Douwe Fokkema, et al. (Munich, 1988), III, 185-89.

(2) Katharine Worth, “Ibsen and the Irish Theatre,” Theatre Research International (1990), 18-28.

(3) Lilla Maria Crisafulli, “James Joyce’s Exiles: Woman between Men,” Linga Stile: Trimestrale di Linguistica e Critica Letteraria (Bologna), 25:1 (1990),
147-55.

(4) Elm Diamond, “Realism and Hysteria: Toward a Feminist Mimesis,” Discourse 13:1 (1990-91), 59-92.

(5) Marilyn Johns Blackwell, “Spatial Images in Peer Gynt: Ibsen’s Inversion of the Feminine Redemptive,” Modern Language Notes 85:4 (1990), 879-87.

(6) Knut Brynhildsvoll, “Das Nachleben der romantischen Ironie in Henrik Ibsens Peer Gynt: Der Einfluss Kierkegaards,” in Studien zum Werk und Werkeinfluss Henrik Ibsens (Leverkusen: Literaturverlag Norden Mark Reinhardt, 1988). This is a valuable volume of six essays on Ibsen. In addition to the one about romantic irony that I quote from, they deal with Ibsen’s youthful style (is there one? Brynhildsvoll asks), the tension of inside and outside as structural principle in the plays, role and identity in PG, Ibsen and Werfel, and Ibsen and Wedekind.

(7) Bruce G. Shapiro, Divine Madness and the Absurd Paradox: Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt” and the Philosophy of Kierkegaard (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990).

(8) Robin Young, “Ibsen’s ‘lykkelige adelsmennesker’: Commerce and Nobility in De unges Forbund,” Scandinavica 29:2 (1990). 181-92.

(9) William Solheim, “Ghosts Off-Stage: Where the Action Is,” Scandinavica 29:1 (1990), 69-84.

(10) Lilian R. Furst, “Angel, Demon, Mother: Ibsen’s Nora,” in Patterns of Change: German Drama and the European Tradition, eds. Dorothy James and Silvia Rananake (New York: Peter Lang, 1990), 137-50.

(11) Bernard F. Dukore, “Karl Marx’s Youngest Daughter and A Doll House,” Theatre Journal 42 (1990), 308-21.

12) Beverly F. Elliott, “Nora’s Doors: Three American Productions of Ibsen’s A Doll House,” Text and Performance Quarterly 10 (1990), 194-203.

(13) Malcolm Pitlock, “The Wild Duck: A Revaluation,” Cambridge Quarterly 19:2 (1990), 138-56.

(14) Elinor Fuchs, “Marriage, Metaphysics, and The Lady from the Sea Problem,” Modern Drama 33:3 (1990), 434-44.

(15) Arnold Weinstein, “Metamorphosis in Ibsen’s Little Eyolf,” Scandinavian Studies 62:3 (1990), 293-318.

(16) James Fisher, “Craig and Duse in the Charnel-House: Rosmersholm (1906),” in Text and Presentation, ed. Karelisa Hartigan (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1989), 47-60.

 

ARTICLES ON IBSEN, 1991


The most stimulating Ibsen articles in 1991 did not have Ibsen or Ibsen’s plays as their primary subject. They used them to illustrate general concepts, issues, processes, and paradigms: the possibility of modern tragedy, free will in Eliot’s plays, Shakespeare as echo chamber, Lacanian nuclear-family psychology, social semiotics, the cognitive status of stage directions in performance, modernistic allegory. I don’t know if this means that we think we are done with the plays except as examples and allusions, or that we are widening their context. Only the latter would be good news.

As before, I have not reviewed items that contain prose like this: “As the desired sense of identity must of necessity derive in part from means external to their [Ibsen’s characters’] selves, at once codifying their experience of meaning for them while deriving the general meaning of the codes from applicability to specific individual examples, a clash occurs.

In rewarding new turn on an old exercise, Øystein Rottem (in Norwegian) (I) compares Oedipus Rex and Ghosts to show that Ibsen’s play is not “antique tragedy resurrected on modem ground” (a translation of Rottem’s title quotation, taken from an enthusiastic review in 1881), but “a genuinely modern play that reflects a profound crisis in nineteenth-century bourgeois society.” That statement, with implications far beyond Ghosts, relates Rottem’s essay to Van Laan’s, below, on Ibsen’s place within a general theory of tragedy. Greek tragedy, says Rottem, had no concept of subjective guilt and did not distinguish between guilt and fate. He cites Kierkegaard’s distinction (in Either/Or) between the classical hero’s fall as a “passion” (suffering) and the modern hero’s as an “action.” “Esthetic guilt becomes ethical.” Ibsen’s lifelong concern with the corollary issue of free will vs. fate/determinism makes him less of a rebel against, or a critic-reformer of, bourgeois society than someone deeply suspicious” (“mistenksom”) vis à vis all moral and metaphysical absolutes. Oedipus’ fear of the ultimate meaning of his past furthers the quest for truth; Mrs. Alving’s realization of her complicity in hers hinders it. That her subconscious wish is ironically granted her at the end—Oswald is again her little child—makes Ghosts “more a tragedy of character than a family tragedy,” and Ibsen’s “pessimism” is, as Brandes said, “more social than metaphysical” and therefore non-Greek. Thematically related to Rottem’s article is Armin Paul Frank’s demonstration (2) that T. S. Eliot’s protagonists in the plays on contemporary subjects “do have a future”—unlike those of naturalistic plays, though Eliot’s plays are, like them, “analytical” (i.e, retrospective). Whether Rosmer’s and Rebecca’s joint suicide is an act of self-imposed justice or the work of the Rosmersholm Curse, they have no freedom of choice. Harry Monchensey, the Chamberlaynes, Claude Mulhammer, and Lord Claverton do.

“Myth” in Van Laan’s title (3) means “pseudo-truth”—here the assumption that tragedy has died and cannot be resurrected in modern times. The main proponents of the myth are Krutch, Abel, and Steiner (others are Heilman, Krook, Brereton, Frye, Bredvold), and the proof of their error—Van Laan’s litmus test—is their failure to accommodate Ibsen, “the world’s greatest dramatist since Shakespeare,” to their contention that there is not and cannot be such a thing as “modern tragedy.” (Van Laan’s logic would have been stronger if his tribute had not been to Ibsen as “dramatist” but as “writer of tragedy.”) By conducting “cultural diagnostics” and not “literary analysis” (Susan Sontag), the death-of-tragedy critic sees modern plays as either failing to meet the criterion that tragedy “affirms life” or cutting themselves off from tragic import by “rationalizing” their conflicts and thus allowing the critic to bury pre-rationalist tragedy “safely in the distant past.” In Van Laan’s own theory Ibsen’s plays are tragedies because they are plays for a “time of crisis,” for “a moment of ‘discursive despair”’ (Timothy J. Reiss). Their actions are not about harmony superseding dissonance but about dissonance itself, “the Dionysian without the Apollonian,” perceiving life as “unalleviated, endlessly and unendurably dangerous, finally destructive and self-destructive—in short demoniacal” (Murray Krieger).

Supporting his argument with an analysis of even a single Ibsen play would, says Van Laan, “take an inordinate amount of space,” because of the complexity and variety of the theoretical assumptions underlying the death-of-tragedy myth. Perhaps, but even so the reader can’t help wishing for such an analysis. Still, Van Laan’s view of tragedy as ineluctable discord seems to me truer to the tragic tradition than the view of the affirmationists (Van Laan’s word). Do the Iliad, the Oresteia, Oedipus Rex, King Lear, Pheadra, and Billy Budd really “affirm life” rather than its ironic inequities? And Van Laan’s non-affirmationist Ibsen makes much more sense than the alternative. For the variant of the affirmation theory that the uplift school of critics applies to Ibsen’s plays turns them into visions of socio-psychological Utopia in which tragedy has indeed died. And that is not Ibsen’s world.

Inga-Stina Ewbank’s prose is so evocative, so apt and precise in its perceptions, that the inattentive reader may miss its conceptually incisive substance. In “The Tempest and After” (4) she thinks of Shakespeare’s last play not as an “influence,” in any ordinary sense, on later drama but as a “seashell” held up to the dramatist’s ear, in which “the processes of life within” become audible. The play “presents a gap between text and meaning which gives [it] a particularly shell-like nature: so much of what you hear in it—be it Shakespeare’s autobiography or a colonial discourse—is yourself.” Ewbank goes on to collocate The Tempest and certain of Ibsen’s and Strindberg’s plays. She ignores Shakespeare’s influence on early Ibsen; her concern is with the Shakespeare the old Ibsen found in Georg Brandes’ biography (1895-96) (which Ibsen referred to as Brandes’ “poem” about Shakespeare). When We Dead Awaken would not be the play it is if it had not been written “after” The Tempest: Rubek-Ibsen is the “negative image” of the serene and fulfilled Prospero-Shakespeare, and the Nun-Attendant’s final “Pax vobiscum,” “sealing” Rubek and Irene “into their own world of death,” contrasts with Prospero’s last prayer to the audience, which “throws his fate” on to them, thereby “bridging the gap between art and life.” Ibsen’s “dramatic epilogue” “is a richer and sadder work if, as an undertone in it, we hear ‘I am not Shakespeare, nor was meant to be.’ ” Strindberg admired Shakespeare partly because he saw in him the antithesis to “the Nora man,” “the Dovre poet”—Strindberg’s particular abomination. The essay is about influence-as-resonance, a lovely record of intertextuality experienced but not manifest.

Oliver W. Gerland discovers in Pillars of Society and The Wild Duck the paradigm of Lacan’s “imaginary” self-image (5). Bernick and Hjalmar are both positioned between a paternal and a maternal character. The action of the plays is the protagonist’s exchange—or refused exchange—of “identification with one of these figures for identification with the other.” This “triad represents in a displaced form the familiar Oedipal structure”: the Mother as the child’s original, narcissistic “Imaginary,” the Father as social nay-sayer and repressor. When Bernick betrayed his and Lona Hessel’s love, he moved from the erotic maternal-to the socioeconomically advantageous paternal. In the course of the play, that movement is reversed, as he becomes once again Lona’s “girlhood hero."The Wild Duck "comments" on Pillars of Society in the sense that it ambivalently subverts the earlier play’s simple polarities of male/female and inside/outside. Gregers’ “conversion” of Hjalmar “fails because Gregers has no place to ground it: the text refuses to disclose a reality” for the new Hjalmar, who is already “enacting” an “Imaginary construct” (breadwinner-inventor-husband-father) underwritten by Haakon Werle. Gregers as “clever dog” forces Hjalmar to repudiate his garret self, where he has been able to see himself as he wants to appear in a “stable” mirror, and where “hammering” is an adequate substitute for “inventing.” But since “the clever dog” belongs to Haakon Werle, in retelling the Ekdal story Gregers only reenforces his father’s control. Whether “right” or not—the issue seems irrelevant—this is an ingenious and consistent reading. But like so many others who seek psycholinguistic paradigms in literature, Gerland occasionally offends against fictional decorum: “. . . unpinning the signifier from its original set of references, . . . Gregers spends a great deal of time teaching Hedvig that ‘the wild duck’ is a free-floating signifier whose range of references extends beyond the literal wild duck.” He does?

The crucial term in Richard L. Barr’s essay on The Lady from the Sea (6) is “perspectival interaction” (or “bond”), denoting the way individual viewpoints “collide but connect in communal discourse.” Like Rottem, Ewbank, and Gerland, who also deal with particular Ibsen plays, Barr is less intent on coming up with yet another interpretation than with using the play as a general model—in this case, a pattern of real-life social relationships. A community is a set of interlocking individual bondings, and Ballested, a minor character, is the play’s emblematic figure: because he is a jack-of-all-trades he relates to the whole town. Ibsen’s title metaphor does not mean that Ellida is a mermaid in all but a literal sense. (In Norwegian, the allusion cannot be missed. Fruen fra havet = “havfrue” “mermaid.”) It means only that in the eyes of the town she is “strange.” At the end she is still developing, but she has already learned that she can establish viable relationships with others besides the Stranger. If she is “cured,” it is because a relationship (like hers now with her husband) makes for individuality, while Lyngstrand’s “equation,” by which the wife is absorbed by her husband, eliminates it. The ultimate significance of her development is that it illustrates Ibsen’s “penetratingly paradoxical view [that] solitary selfhood is ultimately a contradiction in terms,” and that he is, therefore, not just (or even at all?) Brustein’s radical individualist. (Peer Gynt-though Barr doesn’t say this-is the lonely egotist who learns that true selfhood entails sociality.)

Kay U. Des Roches has written a dense, difficult, controversial, but fiercely intelligent vindication of stage directions (or “stage instructions,” as she calls them) as indispensable embodiments of the playwright’s “visual codes” “in dialogue” with the spoken dialogue (7). When Janet Suzman, before burning Løvborg’s manuscript, rocked it in her arms as if it were a baby, she was “playing an interpretation, not the scene. By taking the image-making prerogative away from the audience and giving it to the character, the actress leaves us no freedom to move imaginatively toward deeper and darker matters which must remain unvisualized.” The visual codes, the playwright’s “information about staging,” offers us (in Wolfgang Iser’s words) “‘knowledge of the conditions under which the imaginary object is to be produced’ [Des Roches’ emphasis]. . . . stage instructions contextualize the fictional action of the dramatic text.” What we see on stage is neither the mental image elicited during a reading of the stage instructions, nor—as Iser would have it—an inferior version” of “the imaginary object.” “On the contrary, what we ‘see’ is to the production what the performance codes are to the playscript. . . the written script . . . implies a multi-media event where sight and sound confront each other.” What the scripted stage instructions call for “cannot be made visible to an audience any more than to a reader; in both cases it remains the prerogative of the imagination.” That is, the stage spectacle is different from any particular actualization-among an indeterminate number of the referents in stage instructions. As spectators we are still capable of, and entitled to, imposing our imaginative “visuals” on the “optics” before our eyes. The theoretical premise here is Jonathan Culler’s structuralist dictum: just as literary criticism is not the discovery of a “meaning” but an “account” of “the possibilities of interpretation,” so Ibsen “places his characters into a dynamic universe—a universe where signifiers do not presuppose signifieds and where readers must make their uneasy way among meanings that always fall short of the truth.”

Giving priority neither to words nor to spectacle, the essay is a radical challenge to the authority of even the “best” stage production. Yet, a mere playgoer may be forgiven for asking what Janet Suzman is to do with herself and her prop just before she burns Thea’s and Eilert Løvborg’s “child.” Des Roches does not mention that Ibsen’s stage direction has “Pakken har hun på skødet,” (“the parcel is on her lap”) and that “skødet,” with a different preposition (“i” [“in”] for “” [“on”]), means “the womb.” Do we have the right to deny the actor the right to interpret what she is enacting? I shall be told that Des Roches is abstrusely theorizing here and not directing live actors for an actual performance. I still think the case for the interpreting actor troubles her argument. More schematically, less incisively, but with many more specifics about actual stagings of plays—one of them A Doll House Egil Törnqvist deals with related matters in his book on Transposing Drama mainly from a verbal “semiotic system” to an audio-visual one. (8)

Heinrich Detering’s wide-flung essay (in German) (9) on allegory in When We Dead Awaken has Joyce, Rilke, and Mann testify to the modernism of Ibsen’s last play: all three admired it and admitted to being influenced by it. Scenographically, the play moves from a plausible setting for social realism into “an abstract space for signification,” to “biblical-mountains” that are premonitions of death. Among the three coordinates of setting, characters’ allusive names, and events as visualizations of thought processes, the tensions among “allegorical abstractions are released.” (In his footnote 11 Detering finds a similar analysis in Jørgen Haugan’s Henrik Ibsens metode, but by confusing Haugan with Einar Haugen goes on to say that in Ibsen's Drama: Author to Audience Haugan backed off from that analysis. He did not, since he didn’t write the book.) What is distinctly “modern” about the play is its ultimate non-resolution of the conflict between two contending, would-be redemptive religions: Maia’s and Ulfheim’s pagan hedonism, “standing for” “vitality”; and Rubek’s and Irene’s sacralization of art, “standing for” “estheticism.” Both religions fail: Rubek and Irene die, and Ulfheim (literally) “lets Maia down.” The final synthesis Detering finds in the formal structure of allegory. By marking the boundary between the sayable and the ineffable—the empirically experienced and the transcendent—the lovers’ death is itself allegorical. Implying no eschatology and suspending the “dialectic” between the two religions, the ending signifies the abandonment of any effort to find meaning beyond the work of art itself, thus making it (and the creative act that produces it) metaphysical. On this Detering cites Walter Benjamin (in The Origin of German Tragedy [1972]): “Allegory is dialectically canceled the moment evanescence (Vergänglichkeit) is offered as allegory.” Detering here seems to be saying that Ibsen’s play ends in self-reflexiveness, though that is not obviously the point of his use of Rilke’s Malthe Laurids Brigge’s address to Ibsen as “the loneliest” and of Brigge’s allusion to Ibsen’s failure in his last play to make intangibles and stageables fuse in a violent event: “And now you could do no more. The two extremities that you had bent together sprang apart, your mad strength escaped from the flexible shaft, and it was as if your work had not been.” If not obscure, this is a bleak reading. I am not sure it is refuted if we make a distinction between an allegorical play and a play in which the characters—like the four principals in WWDA never stop allegorizing themselves and their lives.

Of the not many 1991 articles that have no other purpose than elucidating a single Ibsen play only one deserves mention. Joan Templeton dichotomizes the characters in The Wild Duck by gender and presents a new, witty, and rewarding view of the play (10). Gina and Mrs. Sørby are “housekeepers”—practical, competent, and sensible, the play’s “realists” because they are “anti-rhetoricians.” Hjalmar, Gregers, and even Dr. Relling (his life-lie therapy is his “invention”) are foolish, sentimentalizing “missionaries.” Brand and Peer Gynt, absolutist and egotist, are here on the same side: Gregers and Hjalmar are “soul-brothers.” Only by inference does Templeton place Hedvig between the two groups of gender-divided adults: “Daddy’s girl with a vengeance,” whose “death, her gift of love, is her birthday present from her father.” The play reverses the conventional opposition of Man/Reason and Woman/Feeling. Gina is the eiron to Hjalmar’s alazon. When he corrects her pronunciation of “pistol” and Gina replies, “I don’t see that that makes it any better,” she is, says Templeton, the “better semiotician” of the two. Her conclusion is exemplary: “In a play which lacks protagonist and raisonneur, whose exposition and crisis remain ambiguous, in which language is suspect and theory kills, there can be only one discourse that is privileged: the simplest plain-speaking, the ‘non-discourse,’ even down to the ungrammatical and the inarticulate, the wrong’ language mocking the ‘right’ one, and finally, no speech at all.”

Two shorter notices: Thomas Postlewait uses the opening night of the first London production of A Doll House (6/7/1889) to show how inaccessible the “objective” purity of any event” is to historians (11). This is already the orthodoxy of the new historiography: the gathering, the interpreting, and the reporting of data are processes that cannot be kept apart, and all three are inevitably tainted by historians’ covert or overt ideology. And Postlewait doesn’t presume to add anything new to either the stage history or the criticism of DH. (One of his examples of the unreliability of documentation is no example. A contemporary sketch showed Herbert Waring, who acted Helmer, playing the piano in the Tarantella scene. This can’t be right, says Postlewait, since in Ibsen’s script it is Dr. Rank who plays for the dancing Nora. Not quite. The play has both men at the piano—first Helmer and then Rank.)

Beverly Elliott and Tom Markus report on their use of Munch in staging Ghosts and Strindberg’s The Father at the Virginia Theatre in Richmond in February 1981 and 1982, respectively (12). By putting emotions and not just tables and chairs on the stage, they wanted to reproduce the shock to the audience of the original productions. They used the frame for Munch’s “Madonna” to frame the proscenium for Ghosts but replaced Munch’s fetus with “a molded mask of Mr. Alving,” looking like Dagny Juell’s Polish husband and, like the fetus, “emanating” sperm. All the actors spoke to and looked at the audience, the way Munch’s people look at the viewer of “Evening on Karl Johan,” “Death in the Sick Room,” and “The Scream.” For Strindberg’s play, Munch’s “Scream” and his portrait of Strindberg served similar functions.

Otto Reinert
University of Washington

 

(1) Øystein Rottem, “ ‘. . . den antike tragedie, gjenopstaaet paa moderne jord’: et notat om skjebnesynet i Henrik Ibsens Gengangere,” Edda 91:4 (1991), 345-58.

(2) Armin Paul Frank, “Ghosts from the What Might Have Been: T. S. Eliot’s Plays of Anti-Naturalistic Analysis,” Yeats-Eliot Review 2:1 (Summer 1991),
7-13.

(3) Thomas F. Van Laan, “The-Death-of-Tragedy Myth,” Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 5:2 (1991), 5-31.

(4) Inga-Stina Ewbank, “The Tempest and After,” Shakespeare Survey 43 (1991), 109-19.

(5) Oliver Gerland, “The Lacanian Imaginary in Ibsen’s Pillars of Society and The Wild Duck,” Comparative Drama 24:4 (1990-91), 342-62.

(6) Richard L. Barr, “Metaphor and Community in The Lady from the Sea: Remitting Impediments through the Marriage of Skewed Minds,” Modern Drama 34:4 (1991), 467-82.

(7) Kay U. Des Roches, “Sight and Insight: Stage Pictures in Hedda Gabler,” Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 5:1 (1990), 49-68.

(8) Egil Törnqvist, Transposing Drama: Studies in Representation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991); “Representing the Source Text: Ibsen’s Et dukkehjem/A Doll’s House,” 62-94.

(9) Heinrich Detering, “Allegorisierung und Modernität in lbsens Når vi døde vågner,” Skandinavistik 19 (1989), 1-19.

(10) Joan Templeton, “Sense and Sensibility: Women and Men in Vildanden,” Scandinavian Studies 63:4 (1991), 415-31.

(11) Thomas Postlewait, “Historiography and the Theatrical Event: A Primer with Twelve Cruxes,” Theatre Journal 43:2 (1991), 157-78.

(12) Beverly Elliott and Tom Markus, “Through the Piercing Eyes of Edvard Munch: Ibsen and Strindberg on Stage,” Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 5:2 (1991),53-65.

Otto Reinert
University of Washington

 

 

Articles on Ibsen >> | 1983-1988 | 1989-1991 | 1992-1994 | 1995-1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000