Henrik Johan Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen (1826-1906)

Ibsen was a realistic drama playwright and often referred to as the ‘father of modern drama’. He is held to be, alongside Knut Hamsun (Nobel Literature Price winner), the greatest of Norwegian authors and one of the most important playwrights of all time, celebrated as a national symbol by Norwegians. Read most of his plays in the late 1960s in English and re-reading some of them now in Norwegian.

Ibsen plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when Victorian values were the norm. His works examined the realities that lay behind many facades, possessing a revelatory nature that was disquieting to many contemporaries. Quote from A Doll’s House Act 3… when you’ve sold yourself once for the sake of others, you don’t do it a second time.

1st picture from left: Nationaltheatret also known as The Henrik Ibsen Theatre opened in 1899. The main building, designed by architect Henrik Bull, is situated in the centre of Oslo. 2nd: Theatrecafeen across the road from Nationaltheatret was the cafe where Ibsen frequented. 3rd: Vår Frelsers Gravlund, a serene cemetery where Ibsen and other well known Norwegian artist, writers and war resistance are buried. This cemetery is just down the road from Gamle Aker kirke’s cemetery… a very spirited area!

If all the world’s a stage, I want to operate the trap door – Paul Beatty