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Presentation on theme: "HENRIK IBSEN HISTORICAL BACKGROUND b. 1828 – d. 1905 [Norway]"— Presentation transcript:


2 NEW NORWAY HISTORIAL BACKGROUND Napoleonic Wars coming to an end Norway on the path to independence Norwegian language use for literature and theatre

3 NEW NORWAY HISTORIAL BACKGROUND Agriculture-based population at the time of Ibsen’s birth Capitalist and Industrialised New Social Groups Industrial Working Class Middle Class Bourgeoisie

4 NEW NORWAY HISTORIAL BACKGROUND 1848 – farming and factory worker revolution…failed Ibsen felt sympathy and wrote a play The League of Youth (1869) 1864 – German Prussians invade Denmark Ibsen ashamed of Norway’s inability to assist

5 NEW NORWAY HISTORIAL BACKGROUND An Enemy of the People (1882) One man’s struggle against bureaucratic complacency “The majority is never right” “Those qualified to vote are only a small and arbitrarily limited minority”

6 NEW SCIENCE HISTORIAL BACKGROUND Ibsen was fascinated with the function of technological advancement in reducing the gap between the everyday folk and the richer population Sociology had also begun to establish itself The Norwegian Middle Class interested in itself Naturalistic theatre Everyday language can reveal motivation

7 NEW SCIENCE HISTORIAL BACKGROUND Charles Darwin – On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859) A Doll’s House (1879) and Ghosts (1881) Questions of heredity, survival and the struggle of the individual towards meaning in life without religion Nora’s determination and Helmer’s shock

8 NEW WOMEN HISTORIAL BACKGROUND “I am obviously not thinking of a nobility of birth…I am thinking of one of character, a nobility of mind and will” [Ibsen] Shift away from agriculture to industrialisation Cultural move away from gender-governed societal groups Focus on Individual rather than group identity (away from gendered groups)

9 NEW WOMEN HISTORIAL BACKGROUND More formal relationship between men and women White-collar women like Mrs Linde were common Middle-class women had to give up their jobs if they chose to marry Man’s social status enhanced by a wife Consider Helmer and Nora

10 NEW WOMEN HISTORIAL BACKGROUND Agitation for the rights of women Socialism and Feminism inextricably linked Helmer’s separate spheres Women were morally infantilized by it Educated to be pleasing at the expense of every solid virtue

11 NEW WOMEN HISTORIAL BACKGROUND Major writers of the last century – French Romantics and English Victorians Unable to imagine a woman who was not “Half teasing demon, half saint…fire in a crust of ice, or the other way around” [Camilla Collett] Ibsen’s Women changed: Historical Dramas – strong, articulate, powerful Modern Life – marginalised unift, petty

12 NEW WOMEN HISTORIAL BACKGROUND Nora fully aware that she is at odds with her society Anxiety about gender roles was acute in nineteenth-century England The women’s suffrage movement in the UK was concerned with many aspects of women’s lives

13 NEW WOMEN HISTORIAL BACKGROUND The Political Education of Ibsen persuasive and convincing language for society to debate the relationship between men and women Karl Marx: “The most direct, natural and necessary relation of person to person is the relation of man to woman… from this relationship one can therefore judge man’s whole level of development.”

14 Historical context  Ibsen’s Lifetime 1828 - 1905  New Norway  New Science  New Women Sourced from York Notes – A Doll’s House by Frances Gray, York Press, London 2008


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