Henrik Ibsen: The Man and the Mask

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A magnificent new biography of Henrik Ibsen, among the greatest of modern playwrights Henrik Ibsen (1820-1908) is arguably the most important playwright of the nineteenth century. Globally he remains the most performed playwright after Shakespeare, and Hedda Gabler, A Doll's House, Peer Gynt, and Ghosts are all masterpieces of psychological insight. This is the first full-scale biography to take a literary as well as historical approach to the works, life, and times of Ibsen. Ivo de Figueiredo shows how, as a man, Ibsen was drawn toward authoritarianism, was absolute in his judgments over others, and resisted the ideas of equality and human rights that formed the bases of the emerging democracies in Europe. And yet as an artist, he advanced debates about the modern individual's freedom and responsibility-and cultivated his own image accordingly. Where other biographies try to show how the artist creates the art, this book reveals how, in Ibsen's case, the art shaped the artist.