Henrik Ibsen G Wilson Knight eBook cover $5.99 on Kindle, Nook, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play

Henrik Ibsen by G. Wilson Knight (36,000 words)

“G. Wilson Knight approaches Ibsen in substantially the same way he approaches Shakespeare. By weaving a fabric of countless quotations from the plays, he attempts primarily to reconstruct Ibsen’s vision rather than to judge it. What emerges most clearly from his examination are Ibsen’s dominant themes. Knight sees Ibsen’s ‘emphasis on vocation, on the instinctive will, forcing persons to self-realization.’ He sees what, for Ibsen, the struggle for self-realization is: a struggle against ‘convention, hypocrisy, sexual passion, marriages of expedience, a corrupt press, and vested interests; and, hardest of all, the past, either of society or of oneself, which may involve guilt and hamper freedom.’ Each of Ibsen’s plays deals centrally with the protagonist’s search for (or avoidance of) his own destiny, which is to find and realize himself. What Knight sees beyond this quest itself and the specific obstacles to its fulfillment is the grandeur with which Ibsen envisioned that fulfillment. The man who achieved self-realization was of the race of new supermen, a genius whose full destiny, in Knight’s words, ‘will be to surpass art, strive for a wholeness including love, touch the occult, and challenge death.’ To Ibsen, self-realization was the only way of resolving the great ‘discords of human nature and human society.’ It was the means for attaining ‘his dream of a new nobility.’” — Irving Deer,
Modern Drama