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HOW DID HENRIK IBSEN'S WORKS GET SO POPULAR AROUND THE WORLD WITHOUT A COLONIAL SUPER...

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nataranjan | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted January 17, 2012 at 6:15 AM via web

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HOW DID HENRIK IBSEN'S WORKS GET SO POPULAR AROUND THE WORLD WITHOUT A COLONIAL SUPER POWER TO BACK HIM ?

Historically, artists and their works - and languages, too, in which they wrote - spread around in the colonial era by virtue of a colonial power carrying them as cultural baggage and dumping them on unsuspecting colonised civilisations...but this does not seem to apply to Henrik Ibsen and his works ...

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cetaylorplfd | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted August 24, 2013 at 12:22 AM (Answer #1)

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I will offer my perspective on the popularity of Ibsen's work--others may of course disagree or have varying perspectives.  Since this question has been posted in the forum for A Doll's House, I will use this text as the basis for my response.

Ibsen published A Doll's House in 1879, and it was first performed at the Royal Theatre in Denmark.  The play is set in Norway, and although women in Norway did not yet have suffrage, the feminist movement in that country was well underway.  By 1879, the law had already been revised a few times giving women the right of majority, and organizations were fighting for other rights in terms of work, finance, and both the domestic and political realms.  With the laws being challenged and changed, a new feminist consciousness arose in Norway.  When asked whether he wrote the play to address feminist concerns, Ibsen openly said that he was not even very familiar with the women's rights movement, which seems ironic because A Doll's House speaks so vividly to the issues addressed by the Norwegian feminist movement.  Ibsen did say, however, that his work addresses human concerns, which ultimately aids the ideology of the feminist movement--in other words, these are not just "women's" concerns, these are "everyone's" concerns.  One of the reasons why Ibsen's work became and remained so popular is that the climate and culture of the time was ready for the work that he produced.  If women's rights was part of the national discourse of the time, it seems reasonable to assume that a work written to address those concerns would be welcomed by people in the community.

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