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Ibsen’s Women by Joan Templeton (147,000 words, 22 illustrations)

The first comprehensive study of the women in Ibsen’s life and work, this landmark book provides a close reading of actual and fictional women as it re-examines the biographical and critical record. In clear, much praised writing, Templeton traces patterns of gender throughout Ibsen’s plays, from the portrayals of women in the little known early dramas to the famous protagonists of
A Doll House, Ghosts, Hedda Gabler, and the women of the “last quartet.” Templeton offers a reappraisal of the debated question of Ibsen’s relation to feminism, arguing against a false and demeaning critical tradition, and provides important new information on the young women of Ibsen’s later years and their presence in his plays. The book has been praised as incisive, masterful, provocative, and — a rarity among scholarly books — accessible to the general reader.


“Joan Templeton’s
Ibsen’s Women is a book to contend with. Templeton is a major Ibsen scholar who has written a tonic evaluation of what a major dramatist actually wrought. A delight to read.” — Arnold Weinstein, Scandinavian Studies

Ibsen’s Women marks a paradigm shift in Ibsen scholarship, moving ‘the woman question’ from the marginal category of ‘an aspect of’ to the core of the dramatic oeuvre. This is dazzling close reading, sophisticated, rigorous, artful. Templeton’s command of her material is masterly.” — Mary Kay Norseng, Ibsen News and Comment

“Why is
A Doll House not dated? This is one of the questions Joan Templeton answers in this very important book. Her style is witty and graceful and blessedly free of jargon. Her text is aimed at a wide variety of readers.” — Barry Jacobs, The Boston Review of Books

“A goldmine of information... The scope and wide-ranging coverage of this book make it indispensable for anybody wishing to teach or write about Ibsen.” —
Toril Moi, Ibsen Studies

“Rich and rewarding. The close textual analysis supports Templeton’s thesis that Ibsen’s plays and his women characters are quintessentially feminist. A strong argument for the connection between Ibsen’s women and Ibsen’s modernism. Recommended for all collections.” —
Choice