Ibsen: The Dramaturgy of Fear

Overview

Although Henrik Ibsen is secure in his reputation as a major dramatist and intellectual figure, little attention has been given to the connections between his dramatic practice and his plays' powerful impact on audience and culture. Michael Goldman examines "how the play attacks us in the theater" and the means by which Ibsen assaults the audience's expectations and opinions. Focusing on specific features of Ibsen's dramaturgy that have been overlooked or underappreciated, Goldman looks at the plays' unsettling ...

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Overview

Although Henrik Ibsen is secure in his reputation as a major dramatist and intellectual figure, little attention has been given to the connections between his dramatic practice and his plays' powerful impact on audience and culture. Michael Goldman examines "how the play attacks us in the theater" and the means by which Ibsen assaults the audience's expectations and opinions. Focusing on specific features of Ibsen's dramaturgy that have been overlooked or underappreciated, Goldman looks at the plays' unsettling dialogue and driving plots, then explores the impacts on both character and audience when Ibsen's powerful vision takes effect. How does Ibsen illustrate a character's inner turmoil, and how is this quality realized by the actor on stage? What is the "spine"--the single, definitive phrase used by actors to pinpoint the dominant motivation-in A Doll's House? How does the stage design in The Wild Duck arouse the audience's curiosity? With considerable attention to these plays as well as The Master Builder and Peer Gynt, Goldman examines the characteristic "moments of crisis" and the striking similarities of gesture and language from play to play. Goldman discusses every aspect of Ibsen's art, from language, psychological motive, and narrative construct, to approaches used by actors and directors in play productions.

Winner of the 1998-1999 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism; A Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title of the Year

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This slender volume begins with the catchy opener, "Ibsen's characters are killers." It's an intriguing idea, and a persuasive one, especially if one takes into account the murder of the soul as well as the murder of the flesh. As in his earlier work, Acting and Action in Shakespearean Tragedy (1985), Goldman (English, Princeton Univ.) focuses on what is happening on stage, ranging through the major plays (e.g., Peer Gynt, A Doll's House) to pinpoint unsettling dialog, plots that echo Greek tragedy but bring a modern sensibility to the action, and the demands made on the actors, who must communicate this new vision of drama. A challenging text, written with passion; recommended for university libraries and those with a strong interest in theater.--Susan L. Peters, Emory Univ. Lib., Atlanta Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Looks closely at how Ibsen deploys the materials available to him as a playwright to solicit and inflect, construct and reconstruct, our response, focusing on features of Ibsen's dramaturgy that have been overlooked. Works analyzed include The Wild Duck and Little Eyolf. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231113205
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 4.92 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Goldman is professor of English at Princeton University and author of Acting and Action in Shakespearean Tragedy.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Torpedoing the Ark 1
Ch. 2 Alienated Subtext and "Realistic" Style 37
Ch. 3 Style as Vision: The Wild Duck, Child Abuse, and History 69
Ch. 4 Eyolf's Eyes: Vision and Vengeance in Little Eyolf 93
Ch. 5 Lykke and Tro: The Dramaturgy of Pleasure 115
Notes 155
Index 171
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