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

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

by Toril 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 gateway to modern theater. In Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism , Toril Moi

Overview

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 gateway to 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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The best literary criticism makes us see authors and literary works in a new light and inspires us with a desire to reread them. This is the critical alchemy that Toril Moi achieves with her accessibly written yet genuinely scholarly book Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism. A sustained study of a single major author, the book also has global sweep and interdisciplinary breadth. Moi situates Ibsen and Norway within the European republic of letters, overturns the conventional reading of Ibsen as a realist predecessor of modern theater, and produces a compelling answer to the perennial question, "What is modernism?" By reframing Ibsen as a modernist, Moi gives fresh meaning to Ibsens work across disciplines and to his influential engagement with modern visual culture."—MLA Prize Committee

"One of the joys of enrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism is that it is rhetorically sophisticated and tightly argued. Moi's prose is lively and engaging, she knows her Ibsen well, and her theoretical background has enabled her to offer an interesting, intellectually rewarding reading experience."-Jan Sjavik, Modern Language Quaterly

"Moi's clear-eyed revaluation of the playwright...is particularly good on Ibsen's women, refusing to idealise them and placing them at the heart of his investigative project."—Plays International

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780191502644
Publisher:
OUP Oxford
Publication date:
08/03/2006
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

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 published in January 2008.

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