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Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism:…

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 boring old realist, whose plays are of interest only because they remain the gateway tomodern theater. In Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism, Toril Moi makes a powerful case not just for Ibsen's modernity, but also for his modernism. Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism situates Ibsen in his cultural context, emphasizes his position as a Norwegian in European culture, and shows how important painting and other visual arts were for his aesthetic education. The book rewrites literary history, reminding modern readers thatidealism was the dominant aesthetic paradigm of the nineteenth century. Modernism was born in the ruins of idealism, Moi argues, thus challenging traditional theories of the opposition between realism and modernism. By reading Ibsen's modernist plays as investigations of the fate of love in an age of skepticism, Moi shows why Ibsen still matters to us. In this book, Ibsen's plays are showed to be profoundly concerned by theater and theatricality, both on stage and in everyday life. Ibsen's unsettlingexplorations of women, men, and marriage here emerge as chronicles of the tension between skepticism and the everyday, and between critique and utopia in modernity. This radical new account places Ibsen in his rightful place alongside Baudelaire, Flaubert, and Manet as a founder of European modernism.… (more)



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Baudelaire, Flaubert og Manet er modernismens grunnleggere. Men hvorfor ikke også Ibsen? Det Baudelaire betydde for moderne poesi, Flaubert for romanen og Manet for moderne maleri, var Ibsen for teater, skriver Toril Moi i denne store Ibsen-boken. I "Ibsens modernisme" løftes Ibsen ut av det nasjonale og bringes inn i en europeisk sammenheng. Toril Moi drøfter Ibsens kulturelle ressurser og den estetiske debatten i hans samtid. Hun analyserer idealismen som estetisk norm, og viser på hvilken måte Ibsen frigjorde seg fra den idealistiske tvangstrøyen. Særlig tar hun for seg dikterens visuelle verden: visuell underholdning, maleri og teater. Sentralt i hennes tilnærming står Ibsens kvinner, språk og mening, ekteskap og frihet - og synet på det hverdagslige. Moi hevder at den tradisjonelle motsetningen mellom realisme og modernisme hindrer oss i å forstå Ibsens modernisme, som raffinert viser oss at det ikke finnes noen motsetning mellom illusjon og refleksjon. Ved å gjenoppdage idealismen og revidere forståelsen av realisme og modernisme, skaper "Ibsens modernisme" ikke bare et nytt bilde av Ibsen, men også en ny forståelse av litteraturhistorien. Toril Moi er norsk og professor i litteraturvitenskap ved Duke University i USA.
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