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Start by reading the eNotes critical overview for "A Doll's House":
...Englishmen were more interested in the aesthetics of the play than in its social content. Bernard Shaw embraced Ibsen's dramatic poetry and championed the playwright's work. Since the first performance of A Doll's House in England occurred ten years after its debut in Norway, the English were provided with more time to absorb the ideas presented in the play. Thus the reviews of the period lacked the vehemence of those in Norway and Germany....Ibsen was transformed into a liberal championed by English critics more interested in his dramatic poetry than the nature of his argument....Miriam Alice Franc declared that Ibsen "swept from the stage the false sentimentality and moral shams that had reigned there. He emancipated the theatre from the thraldom of convention."
The play and character "Hedda Gabler" have been much appreciated by English actresses:
it evolved from its maligned beginning into a stage favorite. Among those who undertook the role were...Eleonora Duse, Eve Le Gallienne, Nazimova, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Claire Bloom, Joan Greenwood, Ingrid Bergman, and Glenda Jackson. That is the final irony, for it was the ''monstrous'' Hedda who, in the minds of the early critics, condemned the play, whereas it is now her character that makes it one of Ibsen's most durable works.
You might also take a look at "The Cambridge Companion to Ibsen."
I hope this helps!
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