Monday, April 11, 2016

I = IBSEN, Henrik, Author, A - Z Blog Challenge 2016


A Doll's House: one of the most performed plays, written by the gentleman in the photograph below. UNESCO in 2001 inscribed Henrik Ibsen's autographed manuscript of A Doll's House on the Memory of the World Register, in recognition of its historical value.


The Playwright
Playwright Henrik Ibsen, later years, PD



I = Ibsen, Henrik, Author
Theme = Authors, AtoZ


Henrik Johan Ibsen, March 20, 1828 - May 23, 1906, was a major Norwegian playwright, theatre director and poet of the 19th century. His works are the most frequently performed in the world, after Shakespeare. By the early 20th century, A Doll's House became the world's most performed play.

Published in 1879, A Doll's House is a scathing criticism of the marital roles accepted by men and women in Ibsen's society at that time. Ghosts followed in 1881, another scathing commentary on the morality of society, in which a widow reveals to her pastor the evils of her marriage which she had hidden for its duration.

In another of his works, An Enemy, the antagonist is the entire community. One of the important messages of the play is that the individual, who stands alone, is more often 'right' than the mass of people. Contemporary society's belief was that the community is a noble institution that could be trusted. Ibsen challenged this belief. He thought both the conservatives and the liberals of his time were self-serving.

Most of Ibsen's plays are set in Norway, and are reminiscent of the port town of Skien, where he grew up. However, Ibsen lived in Italy and Germany for 27 years, during his most productive writing time. His dramas continued to influence contemporary culture with film productions of A Doll's House (featuring actress Jane Fonda) and A Master Builder (with Wallace Shawn). 

Ibsen was born into a merchant family with connections to the leading mercantile families of the town and based many of his characterizations on these people. He was also the father of Prime Minister Sigurd Ibsen. A Doll's House was a three-act play in prose which premiered on December 21, 1879 at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark. The storyline was based on a real-life couple that Ibsen knew.

A Doll's House is significant for its critical attitude toward 19th century marriage norms.  It aroused great controversy at the time due to the ending. Nora, the protagonist leaves her husband and children so she can 'discover' herself. The play was inspired by the Ibsen's belief that a woman didn't have the freedom to be herself in an exclusive male society. 

Later in his life, Ibsen said he didn't consciously work for the women's rights movement, as he wrote A Doll's House without the conscious idea of making propaganda.  His objective was 'the description of humanity', as he saw it.

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Norwegian Author Henrik Ibsen, c.1870 - PD

Ibsen influenced playwrights and novelists such as George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Miller, James Joyce, Eugene O'Neill and Miroslav Krleza. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1902, 1903 and 1904. 

On May 23, 1906, Ibsen died at home in Oslo.  He had suffered a series of strokes in March 1900. The day prior, his nurse had assured a visitor that he was a little better. Ibsen then spluttered his last words "On the contrary" and died the following day in the afternoon.

NOTE: The only play of Ibsen's I've seen was A Doll's House at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. It was a great production. 

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Have you ever heard of Ibsen? Do you know about the play, A Doll's House? Did you know his drama works have been the most performed after Shakespeare's works?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by!

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A to Z Challenge - 2016

It's April again and time for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge  This is my 4th year participating in the challenge! (Previous A to Z  posts at the top of my blog page tabs are: Art A-Z, French Faves, Paris, Etc. 

Thanks to originator Lee (Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out), and the co-hosts and co-host teams who make the challenge run smoothly. See the list of participants, and other important information at the A to Z Blog site.  The basic idea is to blog every day in April except Sundays (26 days). On April 1st, you begin with the letter A, April 2 is the letter B, and so on. Posts can be random or use a theme.



Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016 - Badge

A to Z Blog Listhttp://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-z-challenge-sign-up-list-2016.html 

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References:

Wiki on Henrik Ibsen
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrik_Ibsen 

Wiki on A Doll's House
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Doll%27s_House 

Image of elder Ibsen:
This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.


Image of Ibsen in middle years:
This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.

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22 comments:

  1. Didn't have the foggiest about his plays being the most performed after Shakespeare!! Wow! I haven't seen The Doll's House performed. lucky you. But I can quite imagine how controversial it must have been at the time.

    Best always,
    Nilanjana.
    Madly-in-Verse

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    1. Ibsen could see how sequestered and what limited options there was for women who had the capabilities for doing more than home duties. He based this on a real life couple he knew.

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  2. I have heard of him but I am always reminded of 'Laugh In' when Henry Gibson would do a poem, but they way he said his name for that skit, it'd sound like Henrik Ibsen.

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    1. He could have been saying that, as Henrik was a poet too.

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  3. Hi DG - Ibsen is not someone I've read, or seen .. however we may have put on Peer Gynt at school - but I was too young to be in it.

    He is someone I should really learn about ... cheers Hilary

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    1. And 'Peer Gynt' is something he wrote, Wiki calls it a romantic poem drama. I hadn't heard of that work before. How interesting. There's always so much to learn.

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  4. I think I've only seen one of his plays as well. Surprised they aren't performed more often.

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    1. Today, when translating is easier, it is surprising that more theatre companies don't perform his plays. He usually had a message in the work. A man more advanced than the society in which he lived.

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  5. I think that Isben may be right about that lone voice in the wilderness thing. Look at John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Both spoke a message that didn't jibe well with the rest of the populace. Even today, I tend to pay attention to those folks who are very different in thought from the mainstream. Often they are on to something.

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    1. I like that saying, too. Someone speaking out against the common thought is how change takes place.

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  6. I read A DOLL'S HOUSE in college as well as HEDDA GABLER. Very intense writer. I did not know that about Shakespeare!!!

    Meet My Imaginary Friends
    #AtoZchallenge http://www.kathleenvalentineblog.com/

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    1. That's a good description - an intense writer. He was well connected to the ruling class of his time, which is why a lot of his work was performed. He was very good at what he wrote but didn't mind ruffling a few feathers.

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  7. I've certainly heard of Ibsen, but to my recollection I don't think I've ever seen any of his work interpreted on stage or otherwise. I may have read one of his works in college, but that was a long time ago and I probably wasn't paying that much anyway.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I don't think I was taught any Ibsen in English Lit, but seeing that play made me remember him for a lot of years.

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  8. I have heard of The Doll's house but never read it, seen the play or movie. What an interest man he must've been. I wonder if he was happily married?

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    1. Yes, he married Suzannah Thoreson in 1858. He was a great observer of other people and sympathetic to the plight of women in the Victorian times.

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  9. I saw Cate Blanchett perform Hedda Gabler, and both she and the play were impressive.

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    1. I would love to see Cate Blanchett in that play. I haven't seen theatre for a while now. Lucky you Roland!

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  10. I thought I had heard of this, but now am not sure. Certainly curious now!

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    1. It's a good thing when we are curious, that's how we learn!

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  11. I read one of his plays in AP English in 12th grade. Not A Doll's House, I believe. I did read that a bit later, as it was talked up at some point or other.

    Liz A. from
    Laws of Gravity

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  12. Hi D.G. What a great dissertation on Ibsen. He's nowhere near my fave playwright, but I take my hat off to him for the originality of his plays.
    I'm back from China, and am enjoying blog hopping to read what my favourite people are saying.

    Denise :-)

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