Ibsen and Early Modernist Theatre, 1890-1900

By Kirsten Shepherd-Barr | Go to book overview

NOTES
1.
Unsigned review of Hedda Gabler, Daily News (24 April 1891).
2.
Davis estimates that the total attendance was over twenty-one thousand for its thirty-eight performances, by far the greatest success for Ibsen in London to date, giving Hedda Gabler the majority of the total audience at Ibsen productions in 1891, which was approximately twenty-six thousand; see Davis ( 1984), p. 270.
3.
Lugné-Poë, Ibsen, p. 29.
4.
It seems that the feminist interpretation of the play was not strongly brought out in France until 1911, when Greta Prozor (the Count's daughter) played Hedda at the Œuvre. She wrote several articles describing how timely the play was in 1911, since Hedda Gabler 'semble tout à fait d'actualité aujourd'hui où l'on voit la femme commencer de prendre part à l'action, au travail, à la vie.' See clippings in Fonds Rondel. Hedda Gabler was not performed at a mainstream French theatre until the 1920s; see Jasper, Adventure in the Theatre, pp. 160-61. The French were even slower to accept Strindberg Miss Julie into the mainstream repertoire, a play that has direct parallels with Hedda Gabler; cf. Reque, p. 125, and Gierow, Documentation--Évocation, passim.
5.
Henry James, ' "On the Occasion of Hedda Gabler",' New Review, iv ( June 1891), pp. 528-29.
6.
Prozor introduction to his translation of Hedda Gabler ( Paris, 1891), pp. 16-17.
7.
James McFarlane, ed., The Oxford Ibsen, vol. VII ( London, 1966), p. 10.
8.
Ibid.
9.
Ibid., p. 517.
10.
Robins, Theatre and Friendship ( London, 1932), p. 12.
11.
Hedda Gabler, trans. William Archer, in vol. X of The Collected Works ( 1912), p. 76.
12.
Ibid., pp. 114, 101.
13.
That is, the book L0+̸vborg has just published, the manuscript of his forthcoming book, and the reconstruction of that manuscript with Tesman.
14.
Christopher Butler ( 1994) points out how much of early modernist art was 'explicitly sexist,' citing for example German Expressionist work created in the belief that 'only superior men can produce a revival of humanity, and that women are inherently inferior, if not primitive' (p. 277). He also notes a 'misogynist aggression' governing much of Futurist art (pp. 139, 198). By contrast, Ibsen's sympathies are usually engaged on the side of his female characters, so that his aggression is directed against the male, as with Solness, or against a pairing of males in the same play, like Torvald and Krogstad, Rosmer and Kroll, and L0+̸vborg and Brack, with varying degrees of sympathy within these pairs.
15.
Astra∂ur Eysteinsson, The Concept of Modernism ( Ithaca, N.Y., 1990), p. 31. Pick, Faces of Degeneration, traces the emergence of degeneration 'discourses' after Darwin, so that conceptions of atavism, regression, relapse, transgression, and decline coincide with the main currents of this 'quintessential age of evolution, progress, optimism, reform or improvement' (p. 1). Hedda Gabler directly conflicted with the move 'towards a central preoccupation with the economy of the body and the social effects of its reproduction' (p. 6). Pick sees the conception of degeneration as part of 'the broad crisis of liberal social optimism in the face of revolution'; within this framework 'the "obscenity" of a Zola or an Ibsen was in part the refusal to respect the "proper" spheres and borders

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