Henrik Ibsen (LIT4531.01)

Maya Cantu

This remote and synchronous course will explore Henrik Ibsen’s influence and innovations as an architect of modern drama. The Norwegian playwright restlessly experimented with theatrical genre while relentlessly pursuing themes of personal freedom. From early works such as Brand to his final play When We Dead Awaken, Ibsen’s plays urge the individual’s imperative toward moral autonomy and the challenging of repressive societal institutions: whether marriage, the church, or the corruption of a free press. As Ivo de Figueiredo observes, “Ibsen captured his own times with astonishing power,” even as his works, written between 1850 and 1899, have inspired modern playwrights ranging from Charles Ludlam to Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Setting Ibsen’s plays in contexts of nineteenth-century Romantic nationalism, the dawn of continental Realist and Naturalist movements, and the rise of the “New Woman,” this course will span Ibsen’s epic verse dramas (e.g. Peer Gynt); his social and feminist problem plays (e.g. A Doll’s House, Hedda Gabler, An Enemy of the People); and his theatrical explorations into subconscious drives (e.g. The Master Builder). The latter works influenced new movements of Symbolism and Expressionism, and paralleled the dream-plays of August Strindberg, Ibsen’s peer and rival in Sweden.

Delivery Method: Entirely remote (synchronous)
Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. Interested students should submit an analytical writing sample to mayacantu@bennington.edu by Thursday, November 12. Students will be notified of acceptance into the class on Tuesday, November 17.
Corequisites: Please note that students enrolled in this course are required to attend Poetry at Bennington and Literature Evening events on Wednesday nights at 7:00 PM. 
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
T 8:30AM - 12:10PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Literature , Entirely Remote
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