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Legend has it that he did see him once—more than four decades later, when Hans Jacob paid him a visit in Oslo then Christiania. Other than Sundays and the hours in which he should have been sleeping, Ibsen had little time for his own pursuits in his early years in Grimstad. He stole time from sleep for reading, and by , if not sooner, he was studying to pass the matriculation exam for the University of Christiania with the hope of eventually becoming a physician.

He also stole time for artistic pursuits. He continued producing caricatures and satires in Grimstad but also advanced to more mature paintings, mainly landscapes—for a while he seriously considered becoming a professional painter—and to more serious poems, more than thirty of which survive, the earliest from Schulerud took the manuscript of Catiline to Christiania, tried unsuccessfully to get it accepted by the theater or a publisher, and finally paid to have it published out of his own pocket April 12, The play received some good reviews, but few copies were bought, and Ibsen and Schulerud eventually sold many of the remaining copies for scrap paper in order to have money for food.

Ibsen had arrived in Christiania a couple of weeks after the publication of Catiline , perhaps to cash in on the success he anticipated but also to finish preparation for his matriculation exam at a cram school. In May he completed his second play, The Burial Mound , a pleasant but shallow one-act verse melodrama on the confrontation between the Vikings and Christianity. It was accepted by the Christiania Theater and given one performance there in September, but Ibsen realized little compensation for it. He greatly expanded his education through his associations with the many new friends he acquired after moving to Christiania.

Most of them were politically radical, like himself, and he began to take part in radical activities, including demonstrations and co-editing and contributing to a radical publication, in connection with which he came very close to being arrested and incarcerated. He wrote articles of various kinds, satires, and reviews.

He also wrote poems and began but did not finish a new play. Many of the poems were written for special occasions and through them Ibsen began to develop a reputation as a writer of promise. In October the internationally famous Norwegian violinist Ole Bull came to Christiania seeking financial support for a theater he had founded in Bergen, the first theater in Norway to use Norwegian rather than Danish and Norwegian actors rather than Danish ones. Ibsen assumed his new post in late October and remained in it for nearly six years.

He earned a steady salary but it scarcely freed him from poverty, and in general his stay in Bergen gave him more disappointments than satisfactions.

Little Eyolf

As dramatic author, he was required to provide, beginning in , one new play a year. The plays he had to work with were uniformly mediocre, being bad adaptations of Scribe and other popular French writers of melodrama or examples of various unserious genres then in favor in provincial Europe. Ibsen probably had previously not had the opportunity to see a good play well staged, but he must have been aware of the nature of what he had to work with, especially after the theater sent him on an extended study tour of major theaters in Hamburg, Copenhagen, and Dresden in the spring and summer of On this trip he was able to see genuinely professional theater, including a number of plays by Shakespeare, who was to have a profound influence on his work.

He also came across a new book, Das moderne Drama , by Hermann Hettner, a German literary and art historian, which had more to teach him about drama—especially dramatic structure and form, complex characterization in the Shakespearean mode, and the nature of tragedy—than anything he had yet had the opportunity to read. These influences were not strong enough to help him suddenly emerge from the mediocrity surrounding him, nor would the Bergen company have been able to rise to the occasion if Ibsen had written better plays.

His apprenticeship in writing drama had to continue for a much longer time than would have been the case under better circumstances, certainly throughout his time in Bergen. However, it failed and Ibsen subsequently disowned it. For January 2, he presented a much improved version of The Burial Mound , with a more effective action and fuller and richer characterizations; it also failed. Because of his earlier failures, he claimed it was written by someone else; the ruse did not work, for it too failed. His next play, The Feast at Solhaug was his first success, and the play he wrote for the following year, Olaf Liljekrans , was also a success, though a lesser one.

Both of them belong to another dramatic type then popular in Scandinavia, the ballad drama. Even if the work Ibsen produced in Bergen had been much better, it would still be true to say that his most important accomplishment in Bergen was meeting, wooing, and winning Suzannah Daae Thoresen, whom he married on June 18, and who remained his lifelong companion, his staunchest supporter, and a principal source of the energy that fueled his work. By the time of his marriage Ibsen was back in Christiania, where he had gone in to become artistic director of the new Norwegian Theater.

Things soon soured, however. Because of the unenlightened taste of the audience and the common practice of European provincial theaters to emphasize light entertainment, for the most part all Ibsen could offer in terms of theatrical repertoire in Christiania was the usual mediocre fare—and for the most part without success. In June the theater went bankrupt, leaving Ibsen for the next two years without a regular income to support himself, his wife, and their son Sigurd, who was born December 23, , the only issue of their marriage. He drank heavily, he considered suicide, and he had difficulty writing.

His next play was not completed until , five years after The Vikings at Helgeland.

Little Eyolf

When it was published the reviewers vociferously attacked it as inartistic and immoral, and in consequence the Christiania Theater declined to present it. It is also his first unequivocal masterpiece and easily his best play not widely known outside of Norway. It was published in and performed at the Christiania Theater in January , but this belated success was not enough to keep him in a place that he had come to passionately loathe. On April 5, , using a governmental travel grant that he had applied for in so that he could spend a year abroad immersing himself in European culture, Ibsen left Christiania and Norway for Rome.

He arrived there in the middle of June and was joined by Suzannah and Sigurd in September. He may have intended to return after the year abroad, but he had no real prospects in Norway, and it is more likely that his application was spurred by a desire simply to get away because of the way he had been treated since By the time he left, moreover, he had another good reason for fleeing, the failure of the Swedes and Norwegians Sweden and Norway were then joined under the Swedish king to go to the aid of their Danish brothers as they tried to defend themselves against Prussia.

At any rate, except for a two-month visit in the summer of and a three-month visit in the summer of , he was not to return to Norway for twenty-seven years. During his self-chosen exile Ibsen lived in Italy, mostly in Rome, and in Germany, first in Dresden, then in Munich in Italy from to and from to ; in Germany from to and from to Ibsen made a third visit to Norway in July , decided to take up residence in Christiania in August, and spent the remaining fifteen years of his life there.

Ibsen was scarcely better off financially in Italy in than he had been in Norway, for the travel grant was small less than half of what he had requested and his only other income consisted of whatever hand-outs his friends in Norway could scrape together, but he was in a much better mood and eager to write. After considering several projects, he began a long narrative poem set in contemporary times about a Norwegian clergyman, but it did not come easily until, as he wrote to a Norwegian friend, he happened to go into St.

It was also his breakthrough effort. When it was published the following year, it made him famous throughout Scandinavia, and it changed his life in more ways than one. His previous writings, published by whatever means he could manage, earned neither him nor those publishing them much compensation. All of this helped to make his life more stable, more orderly—and less interesting as a subject for biography.

Little needs to be said about matters not related to his work for the last forty years of his life. He was fond of receiving medals and other honors, and crowned heads of state were frequently pleased to indulge him. In he attended numerous celebrations of his seventieth birthday, and his collected works were published both in Denmark and, translated into German, in Germany. Beginning in he developed several relationships with young women. The other activity was a much lonelier one: his writing, through which he held Judgment Day over himself almost daily in his study.

He also took on the philistines who resented his commitment to tell the truth about what he learned from holding Judgment Day over himself. It too is a verse drama, the last Ibsen was to write, cast in epic proportions and exploring the grand themes of life, death, and salvation. But it is much looser in structure than Brand , more varied in versification, and, in embracing Norwegian folklore, various kinds of satire, the morality play, and symbolic meditation, less rigidly anchored in a single dramatic genre.

In The League of Youth , which came out two years after Peer Gynt , Ibsen set aside the epic scale of his three previous works to create a prose comedy dramatizing the intrigues of a not very scrupulous young lawyer who seeks to get himself elected to Parliament. In its detailed portrayal of contemporary Norwegian life, its effort to create realistic speech, and its occasional concern with social issues the play includes a forerunner of Nora of A Doll House , The League of Youth anticipates the later dramas of contemporary life, but ultimately it is set apart from them by its greater adherence to traditional comedy.

Knud Ibsen's paternal ancestors were ship captains of Danish origin, but he decided to become a merchant, and had some initial success. His marriage to Marichen Altenburg, a daughter of ship-owner Johan Andreas Altenburg — and Hedevig Christine Paus — , was a successful match. Hedvig Paus must have been well known to the young dramatist, for she lived until She sacrificed herself time and time again.

There was no bitterness or reproach in her. His father's financial ruin would have a strong influence on Ibsen's later work; the characters in his plays often mirror his parents, and his themes often deal with issues of financial difficulty as well as moral conflicts stemming from dark secrets hidden from society. Ibsen would both model and name characters in his plays after his own family. A central theme in Ibsen's plays is the portrayal of suffering women, echoing his mother Marichen Altenburg ; Ibsen's sympathy with women would eventually find significant expression with their portrayal in dramas such as A Doll's House and Rosmersholm.

At fifteen, Ibsen was forced to leave school. He moved to the small town of Grimstad to become an apprentice pharmacist and began writing plays. Ibsen went to Christiania later renamed Kristiania and then Oslo intending to matriculate at the university. He soon rejected the idea his earlier attempts at entering university were blocked as he did not pass all his entrance exams , preferring to commit himself to writing. His first play, the tragedy Catilina , was published under the pseudonym "Brynjolf Bjarme", when he was only 22, but it was not performed.

His first play to be staged, The Burial Mound , received little attention. Still, Ibsen was determined to be a playwright, although the numerous plays he wrote in the following years remained unsuccessful. In Ibsen's youth, Wergeland was the most acclaimed, and by far the most read, Norwegian poet and playwright.

He spent the next several years employed at Det norske Theater Bergen , where he was involved in the production of more than plays as a writer, director, and producer. During this period, he published five new, though largely unremarkable, plays. Despite Ibsen's failure to achieve success as a playwright, he gained a great deal of practical experience at the Norwegian Theater, experience that was to prove valuable when he continued writing. Ibsen returned to Christiania in to become the creative director of the Christiania Theatre.

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He married Suzannah Thoresen on 18 June and she gave birth to their only child Sigurd on 23 December The couple lived in very poor financial circumstances and Ibsen became very disenchanted with life in Norway. In , he left Christiania and went to Sorrento in Italy in self-imposed exile.

He didn't return to his native land for the next 27 years, and when he returned to it he was a noted, but controversial, playwright. His next play, Brand , brought him the critical acclaim he sought, along with a measure of financial success, as did the following play, Peer Gynt , to which Edvard Grieg famously composed incidental music and songs.

Little Eyolf

Ibsen's next play Peer Gynt was consciously informed by Kierkegaard. With success, Ibsen became more confident and began to introduce more and more of his own beliefs and judgements into the drama, exploring what he termed the "drama of ideas". His next series of plays are often considered his Golden Age, when he entered the height of his power and influence, becoming the center of dramatic controversy across Europe.

Ibsen moved from Italy to Dresden , Germany, in , where he spent years writing the play he regarded as his main work, Emperor and Galilean , dramatizing the life and times of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate. Although Ibsen himself always looked back on this play as the cornerstone of his entire works, very few shared his opinion, and his next works would be much more acclaimed. Ibsen moved to Munich in and began work on his first contemporary realist drama The Pillars of Society , first published and performed in This play is a scathing criticism of the marital roles accepted by men and women which characterized Ibsen's society.

Ghosts followed in , another scathing commentary on the morality of Ibsen's society, in which a widow reveals to her pastor that she had hidden the evils of her marriage for its duration. But his philandering continued right up until his death, and his vices are passed on to their son in the form of syphilis.

About Ibsen Plays: 3

The mention of venereal disease alone was scandalous, but to show how it could poison a respectable family was considered intolerable. In An Enemy of the People , Ibsen went even further. In earlier plays, controversial elements were important and even pivotal components of the action, but they were on the small scale of individual households.

In An Enemy , controversy became the primary focus, and the antagonist was the entire community. One primary message of the play is that the individual, who stands alone, is more often "right" than the mass of people, who are portrayed as ignorant and sheeplike. Contemporary society's belief was that the community was a noble institution that could be trusted, a notion Ibsen challenged. In An Enemy of the People , Ibsen chastised not only the conservatism of society, but also the liberalism of the time.

He illustrated how people on both sides of the social spectrum could be equally self-serving. An Enemy of the People was written as a response to the people who had rejected his previous work, Ghosts. The plot of the play is a veiled look at the way people reacted to the plot of Ghosts. The protagonist is a physician in a vacation spot whose primary draw is a public bath. The doctor discovers that the water is contaminated by the local tannery. He expects to be acclaimed for saving the town from the nightmare of infecting visitors with disease, but instead he is declared an 'enemy of the people' by the locals, who band against him and even throw stones through his windows.

The play ends with his complete ostracism. It is obvious to the reader that disaster is in store for the town as well as for the doctor. As audiences by now expected, Ibsen's next play again attacked entrenched beliefs and assumptions; but this time, his attack was not against society's mores, but against overeager reformers and their idealism.

Table of Contents for: Ibsen : a biography

Always an iconoclast, Ibsen was equally willing to tear down the ideologies of any part of the political spectrum, including his own. The Wild Duck is by many considered Ibsen's finest work, and it is certainly the most complex. It tells the story of Gregers Werle, a young man who returns to his hometown after an extended exile and is reunited with his boyhood friend Hjalmar Ekdal. Over the course of the play, the many secrets that lie behind the Ekdals' apparently happy home are revealed to Gregers, who insists on pursuing the absolute truth, or the "Summons of the Ideal".

Among these truths: Gregers' father impregnated his servant Gina, then married her off to Hjalmar to legitimize the child. Another man has been disgraced and imprisoned for a crime the elder Werle committed. Furthermore, while Hjalmar spends his days working on a wholly imaginary "invention", his wife is earning the household income. Ibsen displays masterful use of irony: despite his dogmatic insistence on truth, Gregers never says what he thinks but only insinuates, and is never understood until the play reaches its climax. Gregers hammers away at Hjalmar through innuendo and coded phrases until he realizes the truth; Gina's daughter, Hedvig, is not his child.

Blinded by Gregers' insistence on absolute truth, he disavows the child. Seeing the damage he has wrought, Gregers determines to repair things, and suggests to Hedvig that she sacrifice the wild duck, her wounded pet, to prove her love for Hjalmar. Hedvig, alone among the characters, recognizes that Gregers always speaks in code, and looking for the deeper meaning in the first important statement Gregers makes which does not contain one, kills herself rather than the duck in order to prove her love for him in the ultimate act of self-sacrifice.

Only too late do Hjalmar and Gregers realize that the absolute truth of the "ideal" is sometimes too much for the human heart to bear. Late in his career, Ibsen turned to a more introspective drama that had much less to do with denunciations of society's moral values and more to do with the problems of individuals. In such later plays as Hedda Gabler and The Master Builder , Ibsen explored psychological conflicts that transcended a simple rejection of current conventions.

Many modern readers, who might regard anti-Victorian didacticism as dated, simplistic or hackneyed, have found these later works to be of absorbing interest for their hard-edged, objective consideration of interpersonal confrontation. Hedda Gabler is probably Ibsen's most performed play, [ citation needed ] with the title role regarded as one of the most challenging and rewarding for an actress even in the present day.

Hedda Gabler and A Doll's House center on female protagonists whose almost demonic energy proves both attractive and destructive for those around them, and while Hedda has a few similarities with the character of Nora in A Doll's House , many of today's audiences and theatre critics [ who? Ibsen had completely rewritten the rules of drama with a realism which was to be adopted by Chekhov and others and which we see in the theatre to this day. From Ibsen forward, challenging assumptions and directly speaking about issues has been considered one of the factors that makes a play art rather than entertainment.

His works were brought to an English-speaking audience, largely thanks to the efforts of William Archer and Edmund Gosse. These in turn had a profound influence on the young James Joyce who venerates him in his early autobiographical novel "Stephen Hero". Ibsen returned to Norway in , but it was in many ways not the Norway he had left. Indeed, he had played a major role in the changes that had happened across society. Modernism was on the rise, not only in the theatre, but across public life.

Ibsen intentionally obscured his influences. On 23 May , Ibsen died in his home at Arbins gade 1 in Kristiania now Oslo [23] after a series of strokes in March When, on 22 May, his nurse assured a visitor that he was a little better, Ibsen spluttered his last words "On the contrary" "Tvertimod! The th anniversary of Ibsen's death in was commemorated with an "Ibsen year" in Norway and other countries. On 23 May , The Ibsen Museum in Oslo reopened to the public the house where Ibsen had spent his last eleven years, completely restored with the original interior, colors, and decor.

On the occasion of the th anniversary of Ibsen's death in , the Norwegian government organised the Ibsen Year , which included celebrations around the world. It features plays by Ibsen, performed by artists from various parts of the world in varied languages and styles. Its purpose is to foster through lectures, readings, performances, conferences, and publications an understanding of Ibsen's works as they are interpreted as texts and produced on stage and in film and other media.

An annual newsletter Ibsen News and Comment is distributed to all members. Ibsen's ancestry has been a much studied subject, due to his perceived foreignness [33] and due to the influence of his biography and family on his plays. Ibsen often made references to his family in his plays, sometimes by name, or by modelling characters after them. The oldest documented member of the Ibsen family was ship's captain Rasmus Ibsen — from Stege, Denmark. His son, ship's captain Peder Ibsen became a burgher of Bergen in Norway in Most of his ancestors belonged to the merchant class of original Danish and German extraction, and many of his ancestors were ship's captains.

This, however, is not completely accurate; notably through his grandmother Hedevig Paus, Ibsen was descended from one of the very few families of the patrician class of original Norwegian extraction, known since the 15th century. Ibsen's ancestors had mostly lived in Norway for several generations, even though many had foreign ancestry.

The patronymic became "frozen", i. The phenomenon of patronymics becoming frozen started in the 17th century in bourgeois families in Denmark, and the practice was only widely adopted in Norway from around From his marriage with Suzannah Thoresen , Ibsen had one son, lawyer and government minister Sigurd Ibsen.

Their son was Tancred Ibsen , who became a film director and was married to Lillebil Ibsen ; their only child was diplomat Tancred Ibsen, Jr. Olav in In , the asteroid Ibsen was named in his memory. Many other translations of individual plays by Ibsen have appeared since though none have purported to be a new version of the complete works of Ibsen. There have been numerous adaptations of Ibsen's work, particularly in film, theatre and music. Notable are Torstein Blixfjord 's Terje and Identity of the Soul — two multimedia, film and dance pieces first presented in Yokohama in , based on the poem Terje Vigen.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other people, see Ibsen name.

little eyolf with biographical introduction Manual

For other uses, see Ibsen disambiguation. Norwegian playwright and theatre director.

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Ancestors of Henrik Ibsen Peder Rasmussen Ibsen d. Henrik Ibsen — , merchant in Skien [ citation needed ] Birgitte Holtermann — [ citation needed ] 4.


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Henrich Ibsen — , ship's captain and merchant in Skien [ citation needed ] Giert Andersen Dishington — [ citation needed ] 9. Wenche Dishington — [ citation needed ] Margrethe Jansen Forman [ citation needed ] 2. Knud Ibsen — , merchant in Skien [ citation needed ]