Henrik Ibsen: A New Biography

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Richard Cohen Books, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 466 pages
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Over a quarter of a century ago Michael Meyer's three-volume biography provided the English-speaking world with its most comprehensive study of Ibsen's life and work. Robert Ferguson is deeply appreciative of Meyer, but he argues that Meyer, like other critics, was content to write about the public reputation - Ibsen as a world figure, the critical response to Ibsen, Ibsen in performance. Ferguson succeeds in getting behind the daunting outside image of the dramatist, to reveal in greater depth than any previous biography the story of Ibsen's life, the workings of his mind and emotions and the making of some of the greatest plays ever written. Using recently unearthed material that includes Ibsen's own letter admitting paternity of his illegitimate son, and details of how Ibsen's inability to pay maintenance for the boy almost landed him in jail, Ferguson shows for the first time the real impact these early experiences of humiliation had on Ibsen's development both as man and artist, as well as emphasizing the degree to which Ibsen was, in modern parlance, one of the great therapeutic artists. The result is a biography which does not necessarily produce a likeable or lovable man, but one whom we can understand and appreciate. Robert Ferguson has written a biography on the grand scale - deeply researched, wide-ranging, and providing insights into both Ibsen and the world in which he lived.

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Review: Henrik Ibsen: A New Biography

User Review  - Steven Wall - Goodreads

This is a difficult review -- I think that this biography is essential reading for both students of theatre and of Scandinavian history -- however, despite a fascinating topic, Ferguson's style is plodding and slow. Read full review

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3
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13
A National Romantic The Warriors Barrow
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