The male - more than a human being?

Masculinity and meaning in Ibsen's dramas

How can the males in Ibsen's dramas be understood today based on the concept of masculinity, and how does the masculine serve as an agent to shape character, personality, individual fate and dramatic effect in his plays? The webinar is a presentation of Birgitte C. Huitfeld's thesis in progress entitled Prisoners of the Self?- Ibsen's men. New perspectives

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Bildet kan inneholde: panne, nese, kinn, leppe, øyenbryn.

Foto: Birgitte C. Huitfeldt

Huitfeldt's study examines Ibsen's male characters from Catiline onwards, with a focus on the plays' male protagonists. Are the male figures in these works shaped by nature or culture, society, family, heritage, or the environment? Where and how is the male manifested? In what ways can we talk about his masculinity today - does it have meaning as shaper of  character? Regardless of whether we understand the various nuances and faces of masculinity in Ibsen's plays to be the result of society, inheritance or individual development, the texts always strike at the heart of something masculine and humanly inaccessible and hidden. And what exactly is this something? Can it be articulated and understoood as symbol, language, fate, motive, or action? The selcted plays are all imbued with an essentially masculine tenor -  a shadow or dark undertone of doom. Perhaps this is not so strange, considering the texts were witten by a man? But to what extent was Ibsen himself aware of his masculine dramatic methods and portrayals, or was he at all concerned with masculinity? Huitfeldt examines the role of the male as a husband as well as the possibilities, manifestations, and limitations that lie within the masculine in work by work, layer by layer. With Ibsen as a fellow travelller, the question is asked:

Who is he really - the male?

Birgitte C. Huitfeldt is a literary scholar with a Master from UiO (2004) on Camilla Collett's novel the District Governor's Daughters. She is the author of four published books on women in Norway and internationally and has many years of experience in writing for various publications, among others  the literary series Ytringskrigen (The War on Free Speech). She was an assistant researcher at  the Centre for Ibsen Studies in 2008.

Published May 21, 2021 11:50 AM - Last modified Mar. 21, 2022 1:32 PM