IBSEN, Ip'sol,Exult: (1828—). A Nor wegian dramatist, born at Skien, .Nlarch 20, 1828, whose intlucliVe is marked in German, French, English, and Italian literatures. His great-grandmother was Scotch, his grandmother and mother German, his grandfather's grand father Danish. They were a family of ship masters. llis father, Enud Ibsen, n merchant, met with reverses in Ilenrik's boyhood, \Odell compelled the youth to pass six years (1836-42) in great. poverty. In the latter years of this period he attended a scientitie school at Skien, and late in 1843 he became an apothecary's ap prentice at Grinistad. where he remained till 18 I9 writing a Catitito in three acts (published 1850). and some poems. Ile now sought the University of Christiania to learn medicine, but in 1851) be was diverted by the successful pro duction at Christiania of his The Warrior's Mound from academic studies to the drama. In 1851 he helped to found a short-lived weekly, Nun. in which appeared his political satire, ("ma. ln November he was appointed stage manager at Bergen, with leave of absence for three months to study the art he was to practice. These he spent in Germany, writing the unsuc cessful and unpublished Saint John's Night. In 1856 The Ilanquct at Sulhaug, the first of his national dramas, was produced in the theatrical centres of Norway and Sweden. It won him enthusiastic applause and national renown. In 1857 he became director of the Norwegian Thea tre at Christiania. but five years of his manage ment reduced it to bankruptcy. llere were produced Lady Anger of Ostraut, a saga drama ; The Vikings at Helgeland (1859) ; and Lore's Comedy 11862). In this period he wrote also the longest of his minor poems. On the Mountain Plains (18130). In 1862, after the bankruptcy of the theatre, Ibsen accepted from the university small grants for researches in folk lore and in 15'63 petitioned the Storthing for the Poet's Pension (about $450 ). He received in 1864 a Traveling Scholarship and the Pension in 1866. Meantime, embittered by delay and the political situation, he left for Rome in April, 1864, whence he sent back (1866) the social satire, Brand. In 1868 Ibsen left Route for Dresden. where he remained till 1874. After a voluntary exile of ten years, he went hack to Norway. In 1891 Ibsen made Christiania his home. On his seven tieth birthday the poet-dramatist received gifts and greetings from everywhere in the world. A bronze statue of him was set outside the new National Theatre in September, 1899. Ills in fluence has not been so widespread in the United States as in Europe.
Besides the dramas above named, lbsen's works include: The Pr( tenders (1864). an historical drama : Brand ( 1866 ) and Peer Gant 18671, dramatic poems: The League of Youth, a politi cal comedy (1869) : the bulky two-fold historical drama, Emperor and Galilean (1873) : and, be ginning with 1877, the yet better-known series of dramas that are more characteristic of what passes for Ibsenism: The Pillars of c'ocie(y 118771: A Doll's House (1879) ; Ghosts (1881); An Enemy of the People (1SS2) ; The Wild Durk (1884) ; Posnirrsholni (1886) Thr Lady front the Pen (MS) ; Hedda Gabler (1500) : Master Builder Polness (1892); Lille Eyolf (1894); John Gabriel Borkman (1596) ; When We Dead Awaken (1900). lbsen's dramatic work had
been at first romantic. This phase culminated in the Banquet at Solhaug. 'filen it was his toric, but still romantic, up to the 1 things at //e/gehind. Next the psyehologic interest be wines prominent, and with it a 1Vffitclff'y to social satire very marked in Lore's Comedy, it masterpiece of swift action and of biting irony. The drainas from 1864 to 1867 are polemically national rather than social. The League of Youth marks the transition from political to social interests. From this time on Ibsen is a pathologist of social ills, dealing, as he does, with conditions universal to modern life, and thus winning an ever widening costinquilitan audience. All these latter plays have been sev eral times translated into English, best. so far as he goes, by William Archer (6 vols., 1890-92). Of comment there is cloud rather than illumi nation. By sonic Ibsen's work is assailed as im moral, optical, pessimistic, unfit to be seen or read ; by others it is hailed as a new \l' gospel of truth and emancipation. It is not wholly either. The plays are studies in human responsi bility under modern social conditions, whieh, in many points, lIrsen considers dangerously dis eased and as threatening the whole body with a gangrene. So he has beeome the poet of protest, the unveiler of sophistries, the seourger of hy pocrisies. Ile writes of vice, but it is with loathing. lie lays bare the cause of evils, but leaves it to others to prescribe the remedy.
But leaving the moral question aside, these social dramas mark a new stage in the evolution of dramatic art. It is a drama of descending, not ascending action, not of preludes, but of con sequences. The plays are apt to begin with their climax. They are thoroughly realistic, absolutely unconventional. Their dialogues are so natural as to give the illusion of real though fascinating conversation which the playwright allows his audience to overhear. It would be hard to match them in any literature. Bettye their power has been felt throughout the dramatic and literary world. while the realistic dramas of the French naturalistic school, of the Goncourts and Zola, have been regarded with languid curiosity as the products of artistic theory. For Ibsen's life, consult: Jaeger, Henrik Ibsen: A Critical Biog raphy (Chicago, 1894) ; for summaries and com ment on the dramas, Boyesen, Commentary on the Writings of Brnrik Ibsen. (New York. 1894) Shaw, The Quintessence of /bseni.m (London, 1893) : Wieksteed. Four Lectures on Ibsen (ib., 1892) : and Archer, "The Real Ibsen," in Inter national Monthly (ib., 1901).
The German Ibsen literature native and trans lated is very extensive; among the more note worthy and recent contributions to it are: Brahm, 11. Ibsen (Berlin, 1887) ; Andreas-Sa lome, ibsens Frauengestalten (Berlin, 1892): lbsens dugenddrainen (Muniell, 1895), and H. Ibsen (Munich, 1899 seq.) ; H. Ib sen (Swedish, Christiania, 1892; German. Dres den, 1897) : Von Haustrbin, Ibsen Idealist (Leipzig, 1897) ; Garde (translated by Kilehler), Der Grundgedunke in ( Ap zig, 1898) ; Brandes, /7. /fist-it (Copenhagen, 1898i ; Reich, lbsens Dramen (Dresden, 1900); Litzmann, Ibsens Drawn (Ilamburg, 1901).