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Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) was a Norwegian dramatist and poet, who has often been called the father of modern drama. In his mature works Ibsen used naturalistic settings and dialogue to expose the corruption and hypocrisy of middle-class life. His work is valued for its technical mastery, penetrating psychological insight, and profound symbolism. His first play, the romantic Catilina (1850), written under the pseudonym of Brynjolf Bjarme, was followed by several historical dramas in verse; these included The Burial Mound (1854) and The Feast of Solhoug (1856), inspired by Norwegian folk songs. His most impressive works were written after he left Norway. The verse tragedy Brand was published to considerable acclaim in 1866 while Peer Gynt (1867; first staged 1876), a portrait of the author as an undisciplined and unprincipled young man, established his international reputation. In 1871 Ibsen began the play that he considered his greatest work, Emperor and Galilean (1876), a 10-act 'double drama' based on the life of Julian the Apostate. It has seldom been revived. The first of his four social plays, the works that represent the essence of Ibsenism, was Pillars of Society (1877). This was followed by A Doll's House (1879), which remains the most widely performed of his works, Ghosts (1881), which uses sexually transmitted disease as a symbol of the guilt of a corrupt society, and An Enemy of the People (1882). Hedda Gabler (1890) explores the isolation of the individual, while The Master Builder (1892) focuses on the psychology of the artist.