Henrik Ibsen and the Theater of Modernism


Henrik Ibsen is often called the ‘Father of Modern Drama.’ Through selected readings, students will discover the reasons for this Norwegian playwright’s meteoric rise to fame and his modernist approach to addressing social norms and the human condition.  

The celebrated Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) is often referred to as the father of modern drama—not just in terms of Scandinavian literature, but also on the world stage.  Ibsen’s revolutionary plays shook the conventional theater with all the animating force of a Zeusian lightning bolt dispatched from the heavens. His meteoric rise to international prominence occurred in the span of a mere four decades.  Despite his prolonged, voluntary European exile, Ibsen nevertheless remained immersed in the Nordic culture, earning substantial popularity among his compatriots at home while harboring an abiding animus toward the norms of a patriarchal society that systematically homogenized existence and smothered individuality, particularly for the women of the period.  In the time allotted us, we will explore two of Ibsen’s singular achievements, A Doll’s House and Ghosts, with a focus on discerning the characteristics that render these widely acclaimed dramas ‘modern.’  No prior experience of Ibsen is required.

Instructor: Howard Einsohn

Four Thursdays
April 4, 11, 18, 25
4:30-6:30, Wasch Center Butterfield Room
Howard Einsohn
Howard Ira Einsohn is an adjunct instructor in English at Middlesex Community College in Middletown, Connecticut.  He is also a graduate of Wesleyan University's C.A.S. program and a published author.