Henrik Ibsen

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the great Norwegian playwright and poet, best known for his middle class tragedies such as The Wild Duck, Hedda Gabler, A Doll’s House and An Enemy of the People. These are set in a world where the middle class is dominant and explore the qualities of that life, its weaknesses and boundaries and the ways in which it takes away freedoms. It is the women who fare the worst in this society, something Ibsen explored in A Doll’s House among others, a play that created a sensation with audiences shocked to watch a woman break free of her bourgeois family life to find her destiny. He explored dark secrets such as incest and, in Ghosts, hereditary syphilis, which attracted the censors. He gave actresses parts they had rarely had before, and audiences plays that, after Shakespeare, became the most performed in the world.

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  • Tore Rem No other episodes
    Professor of English Literature at the University of Oslo
  • Kirsten Shepherd-Barr No other episodes
    Professor of English and Theatre Studies and Tutorial Fellow, St Catherine's College at the University of Oxford
  • Dinah Birch 13 episodes
    Professor of English Literature and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Cultural Engagement at the University of Liverpool

Reading list

  • Europe on Stage
    Gunilla Anderman (Oberon, 2005) Google Books →
  • With Vine-Leaves in His Hair
    Paul Binding (Norvik P., 2006) Google Books →
  • Ibsen and the Theatre
    Errol Durbach (ed.) (Palgrave Macmillan, 1980) Google Books →
  • Henrik Ibsen: The Critical Heritage
    Michael Egan (ed.) (Routledge, 1997) Google Books →
  • Ibsen, Scandinavia and the Making of a World Drama
    Narve Fulsas and Tore Rem (Cambridge University Press, 2017) Google Books →
  • A Global Doll's House
    Julie Holledge et al. (Palgrave, 2016)
  • Peer Gynt and Brand
    Henrik Ibsen (ed. Tore Rem, trans. by Geoffrey Hill) (Penguin, 2017) Google Books →
  • A Doll's House and Other Plays
    Henrik Ibsen (ed. Tore Rem, trans. Deborah Dawkin and Erik Skuggevik) (Penguin, 2016) Google Books →
  • The Master Builder and Other Plays
    Henrik Ibsen (ed. Tore Rem, trans. by Barbara J. Haveland and Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife) (Penguin, 2014) Google Books →
  • Henrik Ibsen
    Sally Ledger (Northcote House, 2008) Google Books →
  • Critical Essays on Henrik Ibsen
    Charles R. Lyons (ed.) (G.K. Hall, 1987) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to Ibsen
    James McFarlane (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 1994) Google Books →
  • Ibsen's Lively Art: A Performance Study of the Major Plays
    Frederick J. Marker and Lise-Lone Marker (Cambridge University Press, 1989) Google Books →
  • Henrik Ibsen
    Michael Meyer (Cardinal, 1992) Google Books →
  • Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism
    Toril Moi (Oxford University Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • The Bourgeois
    Franco Moretti (Verso, 2013) Google Books →
  • Ibsen's Houses
    Mark Sandberg (Cambridge University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • Ibsen and Early Modernist Theatre, 1890-1900
    Kirsten Shepherd-Barr (Greenwood P., 1997) Google Books →
  • Modern Drama: A Very Short Introduction
    Kirsten Shepherd-Barr (Oxford University Press, 2016) Google Books →
  • Theatre and Evolution from Ibsen to Beckett
    Kirsten Shepherd-Barr (Columbia University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • Questioning the Father: From Darwin to Zola, Ibsen, Strindberg, and Hardy
    Ross Shideler (Stanford University Press, 2000) Google Books →
  • Ibsen: Letters and Speeches
    Evert Sprinchorn (ed. and trans.) (Hill and Wang, 1964)
  • Ibsen's Women
    Joan Templeton (Cambridge University Press, 1997) Google Books →
  • Drama from Ibsen to Brecht
    Raymond Williams (Penguin, 1974) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: b0b42q58

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b42q58

Auto-category: 839.822 (Norwegian drama)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Henrik Ibsen's tragedies are among the most performed plays in the world, second only to those of Shakespeare, among them A Doll's House, The Wild Duck, Hedda Gabler and Ghosts.