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Henrik Ibsen Books In Order

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Publication Order of Plays

Catiline / Catilina (1849)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Burial Mound (1850)Description / Buy at Amazon
Norma, or A Politician's Love (1851)Description / Buy at Amazon
St. John's Eve (1853)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lady Inger of Ostrat (1854)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Feast at Solhaug (1855)Description / Buy at Amazon
Olaf Liljekrans (1856)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Vikings of Helgeland  (1857)Description / Buy at Amazon
Love’s Comedy (1862)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Pretenders (1863)Description / Buy at Amazon
Brand (1865)Description / Buy at Amazon
The League of Youth (1869)Description / Buy at Amazon
Emperor and Galilean (1873)Description / Buy at Amazon
Peer Gynt (1876)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pillars of Society (1877)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Doll's House (1879)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ghosts (1881)Description / Buy at Amazon
An Enemy of the People (1882)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wild Duck (1884)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rosmersholm (1886)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lady from the Sea (1888)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hedda Gabler (1890)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Master Builder (1892)Description / Buy at Amazon
Little Eyolf (1894)Description / Buy at Amazon
John Gabriel Borkman (1896)Description / Buy at Amazon
When We Dead Awaken (1899)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Four Major Plays, Volume I (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon
Four Major Plays, Volume II (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Writers: Their Lives and Works(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Henrik Ibsen was one of the best-known playwrights from Norway, credited with making modern realistic drama popular.
The author was born in Skien, Norway in 1828 but spent much of his adult life in exile.

It was while he was living in Italy that he penned the work “Brand,” which was a tragedy. “A Doll’s House,” which is one of his most famous works was penned while he was living in Germany.

As a child, nobody could have guessed that he would become a theatrical genius. Growing up in Skien, he had a normal childhood as the fifth child of a successful merchant father and a mother who loved to go to the theater and play the piano.
When he was eight years old, the family ran into financial headwinds, and much of what his father accumulated was sold off, forcing the family to move to a rundown farm on the outskirts of the town.

There, Ibsen spent much of his time performing magic tricks, painting, and reading. Aged 15, he quit school to find a job and soon became an apprentice in a Grimstad apothecary.

He spent half a dozen years there while using his limited time to paint and write poetry. Influenced by William Shakespeare, he penned “Catilina” his first play.

In 1850, Henrik Ibsen moved to Oslo then known as Christiania, where he attended the University of Christiania.

While living in the city, he made friends with artistic types and writers. It was Ole Schulerud one of these friends who paid for the publication of his debut play Catilina.
He would then work as a manager and writer for a Bergen-based theater after he met theater manager and violinist Ole Bull.

It was here that he learned about all things theater and by 1862, he penned his satirical exploration of marriage that he titled “Love’s Comedy.”

After attaining much critical acclaim in Italy following the publishing of “Brand,” he became very famous all over Scandinavia.

After moving to Germany he saw success in 1868 when “The Pillars of Society” his social drama was first performed in Munich. It was this work that was the launchpad of his career and led him toward even greater things.
In 1879, he set tongues wagging across Europe after publishing his play set “A Doll’s House,” which has to be one of his most famous works.

Like many of his other works, he questioned the accepted social mores as he stirred up debates and surprised audiences.

In 1891, Henrik Ibsen moved back to his home country in Norway as a literary hero. He had a few decades earlier left as a frustrated artist only to come back a playwright of international renown.
Even though he earlier on had lived as a recluse, he thrived in the spotlight the older he got, as he became something of a huge attraction in the Norwegian capital.

In 1900 he suffered a stroke which made it impossible to write. While he lived for several more years, he was never himself for much of that time until he died in 1906.

While it has been more than a century since his death his plays are still being performed all over the world.

Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” tells the story of Nora, a naive and silly Norwegian wife facing blackmail from an unsavory bank clerk.

Nora and Torvald Helmer have for a long time struggled with their finances but are set for better times since her husband has just been promoted at work.
However, behind Nora’s childish behavior and lightheartedness, she has a huge secret she is keeping from her husband.

A few years earlier, Nora had borrowed a lot of money that they used to go on a trip to Italy, which she believed would help her husband recover from a niggling illness.

At the time, she had told him that it was an inheritance from her father when it had been loaned to her by a bank teller named Nils Korgstad. She had not been paying him as regularly as she had promised, and he had started threatening to tell her husband.
Moreover, he recently realized that Nora forged the co-signer note, which just gives him more power.

It is a prescient and fascinating play that retains much of the provocation a century later.

“Hedda Gabler” by Henrik Ibsen introduces one of Ibsen’s most popular characters ever.

Hedda is a complicated, bright, and strong-willed woman from the nineteenth century who finds herself driven crazy and bored by the many limitations due to gender in her community.
While she is Hedda Tesman, she is her own person and loves to think she is Hedda Gabler, the name she had before she got married.

Everyone from Eilert Lovberg the passionate thinker and writer, Brack the Slimy Judge, and George Tesman her academic milquetoast husband want to control her in some way but she will not let them.
People suspect that she is pregnant but she does not have a maternal bone. Moreover, she thinks having a baby would mean that her husband would always have total control over her while she wants to have a full career.
She may be a repressed woman from the Victorian era who is driven crazy by the very few options she has, and the men who want to suffocate and control her. She is neither despicable nor admirable but one thing she is not is boring.

Henrik Ibsen’s novel Ghosts is a work that like many by the author challenges the social mores of the time.

Mrs. Alving is an empathetic and well-read woman who struggles to find a balance between duty, morals, and her fight against a system as she looks for her own happiness.

The other major character is Father Manders who is on the opposite side of the spectrum, as he clings to ethical obligation and duty and in the process has lost perspective and empathy of life and the real world.
His world is very abstract and he does not understand what it is to be human and live in the real world.

This is contrasted with Mrs. Alving’s open-mindedness and passion and the voice with which she tries to open the priest’s eyes to the reality of the world he lives in.

Ghosts is a play that touches on some of Ibsen’s signature themes of duty as juxtaposed against joy and happiness and more specifically rules imposed on us by religion and society.

The author does not shy away from the taboo and controversial themes of euthanasia, philandering, venereal diseases, and incest, which he approaches in a revolutionary, empathetic, open-minded, and humane way for the times.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Henrik Ibsen

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