TCD Hosts Centennial Colloquium on Norwegian Dramatist, Henrik Ibsen

Posted on: 19 September 2006

In honour of the hundredth anniversary of the death of the Norwegian dramatist, Henrik Ibsen, Trinity College in association with the Royal Embassy of Norway, hosted a centennial colloquium on the acclaimed dramatist on the occasion of the State Visit of their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway to Ireland on September 19 last.

According to the TCD Professor of Anglo Irish Literature, Terence Brown, and co-organiser of the colloquium, Ibsen’s impact on Ireland was and remains considerable. “Not only was he a direct influence on such writers as Wilde, Joyce and Shaw, but his dramaturgy was an inspiration for numbers of playwrights whose names are associated with the early successes of the Irish theatrical movement that bore fruit in the Abbey Theatre. Current Irish dramatists have produced distinguished adaptations of canonical Ibsen texts,” commented Professor Brown.

“Ibsen’s impact on Ireland and on culture in general was more than literary and theatrical. His work with its exploration of gender issues and its series of remarkable parts for women can be seen to be part of that revolution in consciousness that stimulated twentieth century feminism. Both of these aspects of Ibsen’s achievement and legacy will be given due prominence in the colloquium,” concluded Professor Brown.

The colloquium brought together Irish and Norwegian scholars in the fields of literature and gender studies and theatrical practitioners. The keynote address was given by the renowned theorist of literature and feminist critic, Professor Toril Moi. Her new book, Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism, which was published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Ibsen’s death, is the first major critical study in English of Ibsen for almost 40 years. Professor Moi who lectures in Duke University, gave  a keynote address entitled ‘Hedda’s Silences, Skepticism and Modernity in Hedda Gabler.’

Trinity College’s contributors to the colloquium spoke on the following aspects of Ibsen: Professor Terence Brown spoke on ‘Ibsen, Joyce and Sexuality: The Case of Dubliners’; Professor of English literature, Nicholas Grene, spoke on ‘Ibsen, Shaw and the Woman Question’; TCD Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology, Ivana Bacik, spoke on ‘A Doll’s House Revisited’. The TCD Director of the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, Dr Maryann Valiulis also co-organised the colloquium along with Professor Brown.

Other contributors included Professor Tore Rem (University of Oslo) who speak on ‘Nationalism or Internationalism?: The Irish Ibsen’; Playwright and critic, Thomas Kilroy, spoke on ‘Adapting Ghosts’; Theatre and television director, Terje Maerli spoke on  ‘Peer, you are lying; Nora Helmer, you are lying, Helene Alving, you are lying; Gina Ekdel, you are lying; Hedda Gabler you are lying, you are lying, etc’.