Henrik Ibsen's plays came at a pivotal moment in late nineteenth-century European modernity. They engaged his public through a strategic use of metaphors of house and home, which resonated with experiences of displacement, philosophical homelessness, and exile. The most famous of these metaphors - embodied by the titles of his plays A Doll's House, Pillars of Society, and The Master Builder - have entered into mainstream Western thought in ways that mask the full force of the reversals Ibsen performed on notions of architectural space. Analyzing literary and performance-related reception materials from Ibsen's lifetime, Mark B. Sandberg concentrates on the interior dramas of the playwright's prose-play cycle, drawing also on his selected poems. Sandberg's close readings of texts and cultural commentary present the immediate context of the plays, provide new perspectives on them for international readers, and reveal how Ibsen became a master of the modern uncanny.
Mark B. Sandberg holds the position of Professor, jointly appointed in the Department of Scandinavian and the Department of Film and Media at the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently President of the Ibsen Society of America and a member of the International Ibsen Committee, and is also a past President of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study. His research focuses on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century visual culture, including work in theater history, early cinema, paracinematic media and entertainments, and Scandinavian cultural history. He is the author of Living Pictures, Missing Persons: Mannequins, Museums, and Modernity (2003) and numerous articles on international silent film, the plays of Henrik Ibsen, and other topics in Scandinavian literary and cultural history.
Introduction; 1. Ibsen's uncanny; 2. Facades unmasked; 3. Home and house; 4. The tenacity of architecture; Conclusion.