Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism: Art, Theater, Philosophy

Paperback | February 14, 2008

byToril Moi

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Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) is the founder of modern theater, and his plays are performed all over the world. Yet in spite of his unquestioned status as a classic of the stage, Ibsen is often dismissed as a fuddy-duddy old realist, whose plays are of interest only because they remain the gatewayto modern theater. In Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism , Toril Moi makes a powerful case not just for Ibsen's modernity, but for his modernism. Situating Ibsen in his cultural context, she shows how unexpected his rise to world fame was, and the extent of his influence on writers such Shaw,Wilde, and Joyce who were seeking to escape the shackles of Victorianism. Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism also rewrites nineteenth-century literary history; positioning Ibsen between visual art and philosophy, the book offers a critique of traditional theories of the opposition between realism and modernism. Modernism, Moi argues, arose from the ruins of idealism,the dominant aesthetic paradigm of the nineteenth century. She also shows why Ibsen still matters to us today, by focusing on two major themes-his explorations of women, men, and marriage and his clear-eyed chronicling of the tension between skepticism and the everyday. This radical new account places Ibsen in his rightful place alongside Baudelaire, Flaubert, and Manet as a founder of European modernism.

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Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) is the founder of modern theater, and his plays are performed all over the world. Yet in spite of his unquestioned status as a classic of the stage, Ibsen is often dismissed as a fuddy-duddy old realist, whose plays are of interest only because they remain the gatewayto modern theater. In Henrik Ibsen and the B...

Toril Moi was born and raised in Norway, and worked in England in the 1980s, before moving to Duke University in 1989, where she is now the James B. Duke Professor of Literature and Romance Studies. She is the author of influential books on feminist theory. The second edition of her landmark study of Simone de Beauvoir will be publish...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.34 inPublished:February 14, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199202591

ISBN - 13:9780199202591

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Table of Contents

An Ibsen ChronologyIntroductionPart I: Ibsen's Place in History1. Ibsen and the Ideology of Modernism2. Postcolonial Norway? Ibsen's Cultural Resources3. Rethinking Literary History: Idealism, Realism, and the Birth of Modernism4. Ibsen's Visual World: Spectacles, Painting, TheaterPart II: Ibsen's Modern Breakthrough5. The Idealist Straitjacket: Ibsen's Early Aesthetics6. Becoming Modern: Modernity and Theater in iEmperor and Galilean/iPart III: Ibsen's Modernism: Love in an Age of Skepticism7. 'First and Foremost a Human Being': Idealism, Theater, and Gender in iA Doll's House/i8. Losing Touch with the Everyday: Love and Language in iThe Wild Duck/i9. Losing Faith in Language: Fantasies of Perfect Communication in iRosmersholm/i10. The Art of Transformation: Art, Marriage, and Freedom in iThe Lady From the Sea/iEpilogue: Idealism and the 'Bad' EverydayAppendix 1: Synopsis of iEmperor and Galilean/iAppendix 2: Translating Ibsen

Editorial Reviews

`The best account of Ibsen's mind and stagecraft I have read, but it does a lot more than that.'A.S.Byatt, Times Literary Supplement.